A JOHNSTONE church has been recognised at a major awards ceremony as one of the best in Britain.

St John the Evangelist Church, in Floors Street, came second in the Best Maintained Church in Scotland category in the prestigious National Churches Trust Awards.

It was one of just four Scottish churches honoured at the Oscars-style ceremony in London.

The first prize for Best Maintained Church in Scotland went to St Anne’s, in Dunbar, East Lothian.

Built in 1893, St John the Evangelist Church underwent a three-year renovation programme that included a refreshment area, toilet and meeting room. Stained glass was also repaired.

An open day will take place at the church from 10am until 2pm on Saturday, November 18, to allow members of the public to see the completed work.

The Gazette:

The Very Reverend Reuben Preston, church rector, said: “We are absolutely thrilled with this recognition.

“It was good to bring our local renovation work to the wider attention of the country.

“I would now welcome people in the town to come along and see the improvements for themselves.”

More than 200 churches across the UK were nominated for this year's awards, from which a judging panel selected 45 finalists.

Karen Hind, of the National Churches Trust in Scotland, told The Gazette: “It is great to see how churches like St John’s have adapted to use their buildings in innovative ways and are still at the beating hearts of their communities.”

The congregation at St John’s Church are now turning their attention to its annual two-week Christmas Tree Festival, which begins on Sunday, December 3, and will raise funds for St Vincent’s Hospice, in Howwood.