TheAvebury Guardians, a predominantly pagan volunteer group who work with the National Trust to help preserve the World Heritage Site and explain it to visitors, havewon joint first prize in the National Trust's Fresh Faces 2006 competition.

The Awards, which recognise the best National Trust volunteer recruitment campaigns and initiatives, was given to the Avebury Guardians project for Best Community Engagement campaign. Part of the prize money of £375 has been used to buy new t-shirts to allow the volunteers to be more easily identifiable to visitors to Avebury.

The judges said: "This initiative has brought a new group of volunteers to Avebury. However, the benefits of this campaign have clearly gone way beyond pure volunteer recruitment. The needs and interests of the community are at the heart of the campaign, ensuring that the work of the group has brought benefits to the volunteers themselves, the National Trust and visitors to this special place."

The National Trust and the pagan community came together in 2005 to form the Avebury Guardians, a volunteer group dedicated to caring for the Stone Circle, The Sanctuary and Kennet Long Barrow at Avebury. The Guardians support the Trust's own small wardening team at Avebury in patrolling the site, litter picking and monitoring erosion issues as well as talking to visitors about the different aspects of Avebury - spiritual and historical. Although the group is predominantly made up of pagans, it is not exclusive to pagans and anyone is welcome to get involved.

Hilary Makins, National Trust Warden at Avebury, said: "Creating the Avebury Guardians group of volunteers has allowed us to improve communication and open up volunteering opportunities for parts of the community at Avebury that perhaps previously had contrasting views of Avebury to those of the National Trust."

"The Guardians help us bridge the gap between an archaeological / historical interpretation of Avebury and a spiritual one. The founding of the group has led to a much better mutual understanding of the different interpretations of Avebury, as well as increasing the Trust's capacity to care for Avebury. Anyone interested in helping the Trust conserve Avebury and explain its importance to visitors, whether they are pagan or non-pagan, is very welcome to get involved and help us look after this wonderful place."

Fresh Faces is a sponsored competition to find and celebrate the best' National Trust volunteer recruitment campaigns and initiatives. The competition was designed to reward the most imaginative and successful National Trust volunteer recruitment campaigns since 1 January 2000 and was open to all National Trust properties, offices and projects.