Congratulations to volunteers at our museum and heritage centre who have been shortlisted for a prestigious national award.
The team is through to the final of the UK wide Museums and Heritage Awards competition to find the volunteers of the year.
They were shortlisted for the work they did on the centre’s major Unity and Loyalty exhibition which is currently on display in the Yelde Hall. The exhibition tells the story of Chippenham’s WWI Red Cross hospital – Unity and Loyalty – which was set up by the community in a matter of weeks in the then Neeld Hall and the Town Hall.
The arrival of the first WWI injured soldiers to the hospital was re-enacted 100 years to the minute in November 2015 with volunteers helping to play the roles of the soldiers and hospital staff. The re-enactment was covered by both BBC TV and radio.
Museum curator Melissa Barnett said three years of research had gone into the project which would not have been possible without the support of the volunteers. The team was led by volunteers Ray Alder and Ann Brinkworth.
She said: “The volunteers have done a huge amount of work for the Unity and Loyalty project. They have identified and provided information on every nurse who worked in the hospital and the people in Chippenham who supported it. This was a huge piece of work and they have put hours and hours into it. Their enthusiasm and dedication to this project has been incredible.”
The volunteers also ran workshops and lectures for school groups and the public, rooted out suitable props, provided re-enactments, worked with other volunteer groups on partner WWI projects and manned the Yelde Hall six days a week since November as expert guides.
Cllr Sylvia Gibson, chairman of the Amenities, Culture and Leisure committee, said: “We are rightly proud of our volunteers. They do a tremendous job and we are delighted they have been recognised nationally by being shortlisted for this award.”
The team will hear if they’ve won at the awards ceremony on May 18.