East End vicar gets gong for saving church

A Bow vicar has been honoured with an MBE in the Queen’s Birthday honours for her services to heritage in East London

Reverend Philippa Boardman was made a Member of the Order of the British Empire after being the driving force behind the restoration of the once-derelict Victorian St Paul’s church in St Stephens Road.

She was one of the first women priests to be ordained within the Church of England in 1994 and became Vicar of Old Ford parish in 1996. At the time it was feared the church would face demolition or turned into flats.

Rev Boardman is credited with rallying support from across her parish, as well as the UK and EU, to transform the church into a multi storey community building boasting a cafe, a gym and an educational support centre around its central space of worship.

Rev Boardman said: “I’m delighted, not only personally but also on behalf of the many many (correct) people who contribute to the vibrant life of St Pauls. In the resurrection of this building from its previous state of dereliction, we see heritage truly coming alive. And through its daily range of activities we see individual and community life being re-built.”

St Pauls has already received architectural and community awards recognising the impact of its transformation on the area.

Rev Boardman, who is a Prebendary of London’s St Pauls Cathedral, has been a governor at Old Ford Primary School since 1997 and has served on a number of working groups in Tower Hamlets.

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She is also an elected member of the Church of England governing body and serves on the national Church Buildings Council, which is responsible for 16,000 church buildings across the country.