Award-winning First World War exhibition from museum service team

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Volunteers from Causeway Coast and Glens Borough Council’s Museums Service have received a prestigious award.

Alastair Harper, Betty McNerlin, Nina McNeary and Kevin McGowan were named Northern Ireland regional winners at The Marsh Awards, along with their colleagues from Mid Antrim Museums Service.

The annual event, held in The British Museum in London, celebrates the achievements and contribution of volunteers and recognises their dedication, innovation and excellence in engaging with the public.

The volunteers were selected for the award following their work with the ‘On the Brink: The Politics of Conflict 1914- 1916 Heritage Lottery Fund’ project. Participants achieved OCN Level 2 Tour Guide accreditation, which allowed them to research, develop and deliver inclusive tours of their local areas which explored their connections to World War One and The Easter Rising.

In acknowledging the extraordinary difference volunteers make in our museums, The British Museum also recognised that the On the Brink Volunteers faced significant challenges in revealing the complex and contentious histories relating to the period.

The Mayor of Causeway Coast and Glens Borough Council, Councillor Joan Baird OBE, said: “I would like to sincerely congratulate our volunteers who have been rewarded for their enthusiasm and dedication.

“The impact of volunteering cannot be underestimated, and this project allowed participants to develop their skills while leading to new tourism enterprises, which have created a lasting legacy across the Borough.”

“Each volunteer dedicated a great deal of time to the project, and this award is truly deserved.”

Describing it ‘as the best project she has worked on’ Betty McNerlin has been inspired to set up Roe Valley Ancestry Group to continue to develop local knowledge and support for family history research. Kevin McGowan and Nina McNerlin have set up their own tour-guiding services, while Alistair Harper continues to research World War One history and delivers guided tours of Limavady War Memorial.

The work of the volunteers also contributed to the Museum Services ‘On the Brink 1914 – 1916’ travelling exhibitions through their original research into local stories.

Each winner received a certificate and the group shares a £500 prize.