Star volunteers in Belper celebration

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more than 50 volunteers gathered at Strutt’s North Mill for a celebration of all the work they do within the Derwent Valley Mills World Heritage Site.

Representatives from the Arkwright Society, Strutt’s North Mill, the Friends of Cromford Canal, Heage Windmill and the Strutts Community Centre in Belper attended, as well as those volunteers who turn out to lead events during the World Heritage Discovery Days Festival in October.

As part of activities for the European Year of the Volunteer and the UK’s annual Volunteering Week, bobbin-shaped awards and certificates were awarded to some of the volunteers as a thankyou for their efforts.

“All the World Heritage Site volunteers deserve awards for their efforts – we couldn’t do that but we did give some awards out and hope to continue rewarding their dedication at annual celebration evenings like this one,” said Adrian Farmer, who helped co-ordinate the event.

After the awards were handed out by Mark Suggitt, the new World Heritage Site director, the volunteers went out in to the sunshine for a visit to Belper’s River Gardens where they enjoyed a tour and group craft activities, including human weaving and giant knitting.

As the only World Heritage Site in the East Midlands, the Derwent Valley Mills have been identified as a key growth area for tourism. An essential part of helping visitors understand and enjoy their stay is the service provided by the World Heritage volunteers.

The Derwent Valley Mills already have a number of people who give their time voluntarily to tell their story and welcome an ever-increasing number of visitors from across the globe, but there is a need to find more helpers as those tasks grow. For more information about how to get involved contact Gwen Wilson on 01629 536831 or email gwen.wilson@derbyshire.gov.uk.