‘Humbled’ Suffolk man awarded MBE for preserving Norfolk churches

Malcolm Fisher, of Laxfield, has been made an MBE in the Queen's Birthday Honours list ANL-160615-140057009
Malcolm Fisher, of Laxfield, has been made an MBE in the Queen's Birthday Honours list ANL-160615-140057009

A champion of Norfolk’s village churches was recognised in the Queen’s birthday honours.

Although Malcolm Fisher lives in Suffolk, he has been a tireless worker to save churches over the county boundary as secretary of the Norfolk Churches Trust.

There has been a lot of work done but there is still so much to be done

Malcolm Fisher

He was made an MBE for his services to church heritage.

Mr Fisher, who was “humbled” to receive the honour, said: “There has been a lot of work done but there is still so much to be done.”

Although Mr Fisher had hopes of going into farming as a young man, there was no land in his family and he joined Barclays, becoming a bank manager. It was while living in Ringland, near Norwich, that he became involved in caring for the parish church, where his wife was warden and therefore understood the scale of the task for small parishes who wanted to save their local place of worship. After his retirement he became secretary to the churches trust.

Mr Fisher, who is 76, and has returned to live in his family home at Laxfield, has retired after being secretary to the trust since 1995. The trust had been formed 19 years earlier as a direct result of the number of churches, many of them in Norfolk, which were either being demolished or turned into houses.

Norfolk has more than 650 medieval churches. Most serve small communities with limited resources and saving them was the trust’s mission, although its concern is for all places of Christian worship.

Mr Fisher has helped parishes to raise sufficient funds, with the result that Norfolk’s churches are now considered to be in a better condition at any time since they were built.

Mr Fisher has been succeeded as secretary by Scilla Latham, of Tibenham, a member of the trust’s advisory council. She had previously been church buildings support officer for the Ely diocese.