Volunteers at Bellingham Heritage Centre in the heart of Northumberland have won a top honour for their dedication.
The team were presented with the Outstanding Achievement by a Volunteer Run Museum accolade at a prestigious North East wide awards ceremony.
The annual Renaissance North East Museum Volunteer Awards seek to recognise the devotion and commitment shown by the hundreds of unpaid helpers who keep the region’s galleries, arts centres, exhibitions and other such institutions running.
Other winners at the event held at the Great North Museum: Hancock in Newcastle, included volunteers from Beamish, the Museum of Hartlepool, mima and Tyne and Wear Archives and Museums.
Lucy Cooke, volunteer programmes co-ordinator at Tyne and Wear Archives and Museums, which organised the ceremony, said: “In 2010-11, more than 2,000 volunteers contributed their time to the North East’s museums and galleries. This adds up to an astounding 80,000 hours of time which has been given to help support museums and galleries.
“We really value this contribution and without this hard work and dedication, many areas of our region’s rich and diverse heritage would be unavailable for visitors to explore and perhaps even forgotten.”
All the winners at this year’s awards – supported by John Lewis – were nominated by staff or fellow volunteers.
Bellingham Heritage Centre sits in the ruggedly beautiful and historic North Tyne and Redeswater area of Northumberland. It houses the Bellingham Tourist Information office and there are also five permanent displays capturing the history of this ancient and fabled area covering farming, the Border Reivers, mining, the Border Counties Railway and the photography of WP Collier.
It is an entirely volunteer run local history museum and the inspiration for it came from the success of an exhibition of local photographs and postcards.
The list of winners’ were:
- Award for Outstanding Contribution from a young volunteer under 25
Highly Commended: Alison Grange from Head of Steam, Darlington
Highly Commended: David Bukera from Tyne & Wear Archives & Museums
Winner: Jack Kilday from Beamish Museum
- Contribution to the Visitor Experience Award
Highly Commended: Ian Wilson, Beamish
Highly Commended: Linda Durant, Shipley Art Gallery
Winner: Emma Fairweather, Preston Hall Museum
Winner: Elizabeth Jackson, Museum of Hartlepool & Hartlepool Art Gallery
- Contribution to Supporting Volunteers Award (Paid Staff)
Winner: Peter Gibson, Monkwearmouth Station Museum
Winner: Vanessa Sanderson, Heugh Battery
- Contribution to Collections Care Award
Highly Commended: June Holmes, Great North Museum: Hancock
Highly Commended: Ken Haynes, Bellingham Heritage Centre
Winner: Dorothy Williams, mima
- Volunteer Team Award
Highly Commended: Railway Sidings Volunteers, Monkwearmouth Station Museum
Highly Commended: U3A Group, Preston Hall
Winner: Culturise Forum, Tyne & Wear Archives & Museums
- Outstanding Achievement by A Volunteer Run Museum
Highly Commended: Weardale Museum
Overall Winner: Bellingham Heritage Centre