Almost a year and a half after the Friends Meeting House in Gloucester was devastated by an arson attack, the Quakers group have got the historic building firmly back on its feet.
The building dates back to the 1830s but was ravaged by fire in 2012, meaning that the many community groups who hire the building have been unable to meet there for a year.
But the Gloucestershire Gay and Lesbian Community organisation, one of the loyal hirers, has returned – and to thank the Quakers for being there for them they have awarded them their annual ‘person of the year’ award.
Mark Merrett, publicity officer for the GGLC, said: “The Gloucester Quaker's meeting had been nominated in recognition of the assistance provided both to our group locally and nationally by supporting LGBT issues.
“They have been very good to us and it only seemed fitting that they win the award this year.”
Quakers nationally were one of the first religious groups to support same sex marriages, which become legal in Britain on March 29.
Andrew Turrall, from the Quakers group, said: “We cherish the GGLC group as our friends, not just as hirers.
“We were very pleased to receive this award. They have been meeting here for a very long time but we were amazed to be presented with this.
“We lost a number of hirers after the fire because they had to relocate for more than a year but the GGLC have been very loyal to us.
“We are now very much back on our feet which is wonderful because the Friends Meeting House is such a splendid building. It has taken a lot of work to get this far.”
The fire ripped through a lobby and caused electrical damage too meaning the building had to be closed to the public.
But it will have its busiest week yet this week when it is used as an exhibition space for the Strike A Light Festival as well as a theatrical performance on Friday night.
The art exhibition is free to attend while tickets for the performance of 97 Years can be purchased from the Guildhall beforehand or on the door.