Shropshire man swaps church for bar after £1.5 million makeover
The man who has overseen a £1.5 million programme of redevelopment at a Shropshire church has stepped down from his role to focus on his business – a gin distillery.
Shaun Ward has spent 12 years serving the congregation of St Laurence’s Church in Ludlow – as Director of Music since 2007, Clerk of Works since 2008 and more recently and more recently Church Executive Manager since 2015.
His work has included heading up the regeneration of choir and concert series, a major £1.5 million programme of conservation and redevelopment of the historic building and more recently managing seven staff, 150 volunteers and strategic oversight of the organisation.
However during the last year his start-up company Shropshire Hills Distillery Ltd ‘Ludlow Gin’ has taken off to the extent that he has decided he must focus solely on that.
Rector, Kelvin Price, said: “For the last 12 years Shaun has served the community of Ludlow with devotion and great zeal. We thank him for his commitment and wish him every success in his new venture. There are far too many accomplishments to thank Shaun for concerning his work at St Laurence’s.”
More recently his successes have helped to complete the nave re-ordering, and securing both the Ludlow Festival Steinway Piano and the partnership with Lucton School to offer junior choral scholarships for choristers. His work has positively touched and affected the lives of many people throughout the town, and his legacies will surely continue to benefit St Laurence’s and Ludlow for many years to come.
Mr Ward said: “It has been an immense privilege to serve the community of Ludlow in various capacities at St Laurence’s over the last 12 years. I will always have fond memories of my time at the church, and have cherished the opportunity to bring my energy to both the music and the conservation of the historic building. This last year has been something of a whirlwind since I first created Ludlow Gin: I’m looking forward to the future and the challenges that lie ahead.”
St Laurence’s is one of the 24 “Greater Parish Churches” in the UK. Dating back to 1199, it has been described as the Cathedral of the Marches.
The church is home to a rich range of treasures, from the imposing structure of the church itself with its 15th -century tower, to the 18th -century organ and the internationally-important stained glass.
The church hosts an annual Summer Arts Festival, Ludlow Choral Society, Ludlow Orchestra, English Song Festival and numerous musical events, from organ recitals to chamber music. It attracts over 70,000 visitors a year from all over the world.