The Mayor of Causeway Coast and Glens Borough Council has presented Museums Service volunteers with prestigious awards from The British Museum.
Alastair Harper, Betty McNerlin, Nina McNeary and Kevin McGowan were named Northern Ireland regional winners of the Marsh Awards along with their colleagues from Mid Antrim Museums Service. The awards celebrate the contribution of volunteers and recognise their dedication, innovation and excellence in engaging with the public.
This follows their work with the On the Brink: The Politics of Conflict 1914-1916 Heritage Lottery Fund project. Participants achieved OCN Level 2 Tour Guide accreditation, which allowed them to research, develop and deliver inclusive tours of their local areas which explored connections to World War One and the Easter Rising. In acknowledging the extraordinary difference volunteers make in our museums, The British Museum recognised that the On the Brink volunteers faced significant challenges in revealing the complex and contentious histories relating to the period.
The Mayor, Councillor Joan Baird OBE, said: “I would like to sincerely congratulate all those who have been rewarded for their enthusiasm and dedication. The impact of volunteering cannot be underestimated, and this project allowed participants to develop their skills while leading to new tourism enterprises, which have created a lasting legacy across the Borough. Each volunteer dedicated a great deal of time to the project, and their awards are truly deserved.”
Describing it as ‘the best project she has worked on’ Betty McNerlin was inspired by the experience to set up Roe Valley Ancestry Group to continue to develop local knowledge and provide support for family history research. Kevin McGowan and Nina McNerlin have set up their own tour-guiding services, while Alistair Harper continues to research World War One history and delivers guided tours of Limavady War Memorial.
The work of the volunteers also contributed to the Museum Services On the Brink 1914 – 1916 travelling exhibitions through their original research into local stories.
Each winner received a certificate and the group shared a £500 prize.