Heritage volunteers shortlisted for award

A team of volunteers working with Merton Council’s heritage service to create an online archive of Merton in the First World War, have been shortlisted for a prestigious award.

The Carved in Stone team of volunteers have been selected as finalists in the Culture of London category of the Team London Awards. The awards, run by the Mayor of London, recognise the achievements of volunteering initiatives across the capital.

The group of volunteers, who were nominated for the award by Merton Voluntary Service Council, helped heritage staff to uncover the life stories of servicemen who fought during the Great War. They created an extensive online archive, the Carved in Stone website, which includes more than 1,481 documents and 596 combatant profiles.  Visitors to the website can also look at the Wimbledon and Merton Roll of Honour, which lists the names of those who fought in the conflict. Volunteers also filmed interviews with the descendants of First World War combatants, capturing personal war stories which were previously unknown beyond the immediate family circle.

The two-year project started in February 2015, supported by a grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund. As well as the role of local servicemen, it also covers aspects of life on the Home Front, including recruitment venues and wartime industries, local charities, the contribution of women to the war effort, the work done by local hospitals and the experiences of war refugees. Carved in Stone has been taken out into the community through a Merton at War Heritage trail, artefact boxes for local schools, guided walks, film screenings, several exhibitions and two heritage discovery days, which were each attended by more than a thousand people.

Merton Council’s Cabinet Member for Community and Culture, Councillor Nick Draper said: “I would like to congratulate the heritage team on being shortlisted for this prestigious award. Their hard work on Carved in Stone has brought an important part of the borough’s history to life for future generations to learn about. Our volunteers are a tremendous asset to the heritage service and exemplify the council’s business-like approach to running services.”

Sarah Hannigan, Head of Volunteering at Merton Voluntary Service Council said: “I am thrilled that the Carved in Stone volunteer team have reached the finals of the Mayor of London’s Team London Awards. I nominated them for the Culture of London Award because of their tireless commitment to recording and celebrating the history of Merton and the lives of its residents.”

The Carved in Stone team will find out if they have won the award at a ceremony to be held at City Hall on 6 November.

For more information, visit www.merton.gov.uk/carvedinstone where you can also sign up to receive the Carved in Stone e-newsletter.