Charity’s archive given prestigious national award

This Is Wiltshire: Derek Fawcett, Pearl Reading, Barbara Fenn, Alice Cleland,Marguerite Braithwaite, John Chambers, Hannah Tinkler, Matthew Macmurray, Nora Fawcett, Pete Franks and Jennifer Hunt Derek Fawcett, Pearl Reading, Barbara Fenn, Alice Cleland,Marguerite Braithwaite, John Chambers, Hannah Tinkler, Matthew Macmurray, Nora Fawcett, Pete Franks and Jennifer Hunt

Volunteers from all over Wiltshire, who have been working on the national archive for the charity WRVS, have won a prestigious award.

The judges in the National Archive Volunteer Project of the Year run by the Archives and Records Association were so impressed by the work of the Wiltshire volunteers that, for the first time, they awarded a highly commended certificate.

Volunteers have been working for the past four years on listing, accessioning, answering queries, producing newsletters and blogging for WRVS at an office on the Bath Road Business Centre, Devizes.

This has involved 5,000 boxes of material ranging from reports from WRVS members all over the country and the world, photographs, magazines and scrapbooks plus badges and uniforms.

There are 30 volunteers, aged from 22 to 88, who have so far given almost 900 hours of volunteering.

The team’s work will reach a significant milestone in January 2013 when the WRVS launches an online catalogue and offers an inquiry service. John Chambers, chief executive of the Archives and Records Association, visited the team’s base yesterday and presented the certificate. He said: “The judges were unanimous in their praise of the WRVS project. “They said it was ‘truly commendable and a huge piece of work’.”

Matthew McMurray, WRVS archivist, said: “The volunteers at our archive are highly committed and have made a huge impact on our important collection. “Without them the archive wouldn’t be the fantastic resource that it now is.”

Volunteers include husband and wife Derek and Nora Fawcett, aged 85 and 76, from Corsham, while the youngest is Hannah Tinkler, 22, of Amesbury who is training to be an archivist.

The overall winner of the project was Wolverhampton City Archives.

Alice Cleland, who lives in Devizes and is former national vice-chairman of WRVS and was instrumental in bringing the archive to Devizes, said: “I am absolutely thrilled that our project got highly commended. Wolverhampton have got all the resources in the world whereas we operate on a shoestring.”

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