I saw the initial email a few months ago on our local HE group and thought it was perfect for Piper as she loves all things historical. It's such a fantastic opportunity for her and so we were eager to meet everyone involved, find out more and see if Piper actual had a place as there were quite a few volunteers.
Despite arriving late and not knowing anyone-which was a bit nerve wracking for both us!- (and we had to sit right at the front!) the lady in charge was really good and explained what the group would be doing and it all sounds fantastic. We were taken into the archive rooms, which was so exciting but a little chilly. We were shown some documents that had been archived from WW1 and given a rough idea how documents were stored to preserve them. The man talking told us he'd worked there for over 40 years and had never wanted to work anywhere else-how cool that must be to enjoy your job so much.
Some refreshments and a chance to chat to a couple of the people in charge before a photo of the whole group was taken. We were really pleased to hear that everyone had a place and sort out dates for the next several meetings, in all it will run fortnightly until next July in time for the centenary. There will be trips too including one to the Imperial War Museum when it reopens. We've never been here so that will be a great opportunity.
The project is to record and archive a whole collection of information that a local lady called Patricia Wakefield amassed about local soldiers and there stories. She died a few years ago sadly and all of her collection has been donated to the archives, we had a quick look through some of the information and its brilliant. It was all self-led and became such a huge project for her, triggered by a conversation with her son who had just returned from Belgium. He'd visited some of the war graves there and told his mum about it and she was so intrigued she went I've to Belgium and France and that's how it all began.
The lady in charge was explaining how Pipers generation are the first generation of people to not have direct access to people who lived/fought/were part of WW1 and how this information that needed archiving will be so important in the future. She also said if the children were inspired and wanted to look at family members involvement or local war memorials and keep their own diary/journal/scrapbook that would be great. I think that's a fantastic idea and I'm sure Piper will be inspired to do her own research. We'll be visiting Pipers great grandparents and I'm sure they will help and have some information for her.
I'm so pleased Piper has got this opportunity and she is so excited and inspired!