Awards for the people making a difference

Strutt's North Mill Museum Volunteers Association
Strutt's North Mill Museum Volunteers Association

outstanding people from Belper and the surrounding area had their achievements and contributions to communities across Derbyshire recognised at an awards ceremony last week.

The county council hosted its annual Excellence in the Community Awards at the Devonshire Dome, Buxton, to honour the people who are making a difference to the lives of others.

The Guardians of Strutts group worked tirelessly to bring the old Herbert Strutt School building into use as a community centre after it closed as a school in 2008.

Now around 90 groups use the centre and Belper Town Council nominated the group for the award.

Trustee Cynthia Maddock said: “We’re absolutely delighted – it’s an honour.

“We started the project to save the building. I was really amazed to see all the people who volunteer - the room was full. It’s amazing to see what people in Derbyshire do.” Strutt’s North Mill Museum Volunteers Association was also honoured. Founded in 1995, when the mill opened as a museum, the group now boasts 45 members aged between 18 and 80. Chair Christine Smith, who has been involved since 2008, said: “We’re obviously very pleased – it does recognise a lot of hard work. People have joined us because they have got a lot of pride in Belper and they want to let other people know about it - but there’s also companionship and friendship.”

A council spokesman added: “Volunteers work tirelessly to promote Belper’s historic North Mill, which is a World Heritage site.

Nominator Wyn Edwards says their work at the North Mill Museum goes way beyond the call of duty - encouraging future generations to take pride in local heritage.”

In Duffield, volunteer Derek Cook, 76, has been secretary of the Duffield Community Association, closely involved with parent teacher associations, as well as chairman of the annual carnival.

He said: “I was very pleased and honoured.

“We moved to Duffield 46 years ago and I suppose I’ve been active in the community ever since. We wouldn’t want to live anywhere else.”