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Cranmer Winners

The two winners of the 35th annual Cranmer Awards emerged from a superlative competition held at Hampton Court Palace this weekend (24th February).

Shriya Sastry from Worcester diocese won the junior section, while Charlie Mutton, representing Salisbury South, triumphed in the senior section.

21 candidates drawn from 13 different dioceses recited, from memory, substantial sections of the Book of Common Prayer at the final held in the palace which saw much of the early history of the BCP. Each candidate had won a regional heat to reach the national final.

The prizes were presented by James Harris, Clerk of the Chapel and Groom of the Vestry, HM Chapel Royal, Hampton Court.

Gallery of photos

Charlie Mutton - winning recital

Shriya Sastry - winning recital

Following his win, Charlie Mutton said he was "shocked". “The Prayer Book can seem obsolete when you first pick it up. But when you really take it into yourself, rather than just viewing it as words on the page, the BCP has a unique openness to its language and a richness that only really reveals itself after you allow yourself to dive into the language. Every time I’d read my psalm, I’d find something else new."

Bradley Smith, Chairman of the Prayer Book Society, said, "It's been wonderful to hear these lengthy passages from our prayer book being recited aloud."

He told the audience of a conversation he’d had with one of the candidates. The competition had taken him on a surprising journey, "to the discovery of a living faith in Jesus Christ."

Bradley told all the candidates that, "His hope and prayer is that these texts, which are both ancient but yet very much alive, will continue to have a place in your hearts and your souls for the rest of your lives."

"This has been a privilege," said the chair of the Senior judging panel, Lesley Cook. "It was a task of trying to recognise superlative out of excellence."

The regional heats for the 2025 competition take place in the autumn, with the final taking place in February 2025 possibly at a new venue in the Midlands. It is also possible to enter next year's heats online.

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