ST Mary's Church, Embsay with Eastby, has become the first church in the Diocese of Leeds to receive a Gold Eco Church Award.

The Bishop of Leeds, Nick Baines, was at the church recently to congratulate the congregation and present it with a special plaque. The service also saw the unveiling of three wall hangings containing more than 50 panels showcasing the various eco actions which the church congregation have sustained in their own lifestyles and in reaching out to include the involvement of the local community.

“I am thrilled at the way our church members work together and keep each other alert to eco issues,” said the Rev Canon Marion Russell, Vicar of Embsay with Eastby.

“The challenges and assurances provided in the A Rocha UK Eco Church Award have been a hugely helpful and accessible structure to work through the bronze, silver and now gold awards over the last five to six years."

Diana Linford, parish environment officer, added: “We see our eco church journey as one of small steps and we are keen to encourage other churches and individuals to start making small changes which really can make a difference. We will be holding an eco church morning next spring to help and support other churches on this journey.”