31st January 2024

The BAfTaAs – Batty Awards for Talent and Achievement: celebrating some outstanding bat workers

The bats of the British Isles are fortunate to have a number of talented and enthusiastic bat workers in their corner. BCT are celebrating some key individuals who have made a big difference for bats, often using large quantities of their own time and energy to support our favourite flying mammals.

BAfTaA for Church Support (sponsored by The Bats in Churches Project)

The BAfTaAs – Batty Awards for Talent and Achievement: celebrating some outstanding bat workers

Bats in Churches Project logo

The Bats in Churches Project may have wrapped up, but the legacy of the project continues, in part thanks to the tireless efforts of the winners of the BAfTaA for Church Support.

This is awarded to an individual who has provided significant support to a church (or churches) with bats. The support could involve help with cleaning, advising church leaders on bats or heritage, giving talks and running engagement activities for members of the church community or any other form of support, either as part of the Bats in Churches Project or independently.

For 2023, there are three sets of winners:

1. Barry Collins for his work at Tattershall Church and others

Barry Colins is an engaging and personable ecologist who enjoys solving the challenging problems that old church buildings bring. He has an outstanding relationship with local churches and the Lincs Bat Group and throughout the Bats in Churches project Barry has been carrying out mitigation work in complex difficult buildings and coming up with amazingly inventive solutions to test. He also shares his knowledge and case studies with ecologists, architects and surveyors.

“Barry has gone well above and beyond at Tattershall, he is a legend.”

2. Sylvia and Roger Jiggins for their work with many churches in the Chelmsford Diocese

Roger and Sylvia have been involved with Essex Bat Group and bat conservation for more than 15 years. During this time, they have played a significant role in local bat conservation activities, including training new VBRVs, highlighting the importance of Essex churches as bat roosts and inspiring both new members and the general public with their passion for bats.

As licensed Volunteer Bat Roost Visitors (VBRVs), Roger and Sylvia have undertaken countless surveys of churches, developing an incredible amount of knowledge about bats in churches and are particularly adept at designing practical mitigation measures. As well as providing significant support for Chelmsford Diocese, they liaise with architects and contractors to increase awareness of how bats use buildings and the importance of protecting them as well as running training courses for BCT Helpline staff and others.

“They are considered to be two of the leading experts on bats and churches in the UK”

3. Nigel Millbourne for his work with Compton Martin, Nempnett and Blagdon churches

Nigel Milbourne is an experienced VBRV who has provided support and help to churches and church wardens in Somerset over many years. At one point he was visiting Nempnett Thrubwell church almost daily to rescue juvenile bats stuck inside, going above and beyond.

In June 2023, Nigel helped run a VBRV training course and arrived loaded down with night vision equipment which enabled everyone on the course to learn about the technology, as well as dazzling local community members who saw the invisible bats come to life on screen.

“Nigel is a dedicated bat conservationist and volunteer, a champion for promoting the values of the Bats in Churches project.”

Thank you and well done to Barry, Sylvia, Roger and Nigel for their hard work supporting bats.

BCT Hall of Fame

The BAfTaAs – Batty Awards for Talent and Achievement: celebrating some outstanding bat workers

The Hall of Fame was launched in 2021 as part of BCT's 30th anniversary celebrations and celebrates key figures from any field within the bat world who have made/are making a significant contribution to bat conservation in different ways. For 2023, three additional nominees are being admitted.

Maggie Brown

Making a difference through bat care, West Yorkshire Bat Hospital, training, outreach, author of the Bat Care Manual and co-organiser of the Bat Care Conference

Here is what the person nominating Maggie says “Maggie Brown is one of the country’s foremost bat carers, having provided rehabilitation for thousands of bats over 40 years at the West Yorkshire Bat Hospital. A passionate advocate for bats and their welfare, Maggie has continually strived to identify and provide best practice in terms of bat care, sharing her knowledge and expertise with vets and other carers through advice, training courses and as author of the Bat Care Manual - an invaluable reference guide for new and experienced bat carers. She is also a key part of the West Yorkshire Bat Group, undertaking education and outreach activities in the local area as well as helping to organise the National Bat Care Conference”

Roger and Sylvia Jiggins

Making a difference through training bat workers, Essex Bat Group, supporting Chelmsford Diocese and the churches of Essex and outreach

Here is what Roger and Sylvia’s nominator had to say about them “Roger and Sylvia have dedicated many years to helping bats in Essex and across the country. They don’t just undertake surveys as VBRVs, they also help to train others, spreading knowledge and confidence so that more people can be involved in bat conservation work. Their work with the public aims to inspires others to appreciate the bats around them, to get involved in bat work and to encourage bats in their area.”

Congratulations to all our award winners, we and the bats are grateful for the incredible support you provide for bats, bat workers and bat conservation.

We will be announcing the winners of the Batty Laureate Awards on World Book Day in March.