The lighthouse and the sea at Orford Ness

Northern Ireland’s award winning heritage 


An HLF-supported project from Northern Ireland has been named the UK’s Best Heritage Project at the prestigious National Lottery Awards, which were held in London on Saturday evening (5 November). 

The ‘We Were Brothers: World War One a shared heritage’ project explored the heritage of soldiers from both the Unionist and the Nationalist traditions in the North West who served side by side with the British army in First World War, as members of the Ulster Battalions or the Irish Volunteers. The project included a play, DVD, interactive website and youth project.

There are seven categories in the Awards, each reflecting an area of Lottery funding. The winners beat hundreds of projects from across the UK to win the coveted title of the UK’s favourite Lottery projects at the event, which was broadcast live on BBC One.

Accepting the award for Best Heritage Project, We Were Brothers author, Felicity McCall, said: “It is an absolute honour to have won this award and a real boost for everyone involved to receive national recognition for their hard work and dedication. I accept this award with immense gratitude to the National Lottery and in the name of the thousands of brothers and sisters whose commitment to reconciliation made it possible.”

Project representatives mingled with celebrity guests at this year’s star-studded awards event, including host Myleene Klass and special celebrity guests Ashley Banjo and Perri Kiely from Diversity, Holby City’s Laila Rouass, Dragons’ Den’s Hilary Devey, Dr. Pamela Stephenson and Professor Robert Winston. A short film on each of the finalists was also played during the special BBC One programme.

Congratulating the winners, Myleene Klass said: “National Lottery players raise £30 million every week for large and small projects across the UK. The National Lottery Awards are a fantastic way of celebrating the enormous amount of hard work that goes into making these projects a success. All the finalists make a real difference to people and communities every day thanks to their Lottery funding.”

Head of HLF Northern Ireland, Paul Mullan, added: “Handful Productions, the group behind the We Were Brothers project, have worked tremendously hard to deliver this fantastic project which has involved, influenced and increased the local community’s understanding of the shared heritage of World War One.

“The project is an excellent example of how a small grant of £30,590 can make a real difference to communities. We are delighted that voters across the UK have recognised this and with their help have secured the title of the UK’s Best Heritage Project for We Were Brothers.”

Information on the Awards and the winners across all seven categories can be found on the National Lottery Good Causes website.  

We Were Brothers collecting National Lottery Award 
Felicity McCall and Steve Wakely from We Were Brothers project collecting their National Lottery Award