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Haverhill local history group looks to the future on its 40th anniversary

Haverhill and District Local History Group president Christopher Gurteen addresses the group on its 40th anniversary ANL-140827-113014001

Haverhill and District Local History Group president Christopher Gurteen addresses the group on its 40th anniversary ANL-140827-113014001

A Haverhill history group has celebrated its 40th anniversary amid calls for younger volunteers to join up.

The Haverhill and District Local History Group marked the 40th anniversary of its founding on Tuesday (August 26) with a celebration at Haverhill Arts Centre.

Volunteers, councillors and members of the public came to enjoy themselves and to think about the past, and the future of the group.

“We publish books, do outreach programmes and work with other organisations to preserve as much as we can,” said Pat Pearse, 74, a volunteer with the group. “People are always bringing in stuff for us to look after in the archives.

“Even tonight, people have brought us stuff in to look at.”

Archivist, Tony Turner, 67, said: “We used to get a lot of unusual items brought in in boxes by the auctioneer at Boardmans auction house.

“There were lots of agricultural items. Things for measuring bails, things for measuring the liquid in barrels. Our focus is now on digitising our archives so they’re more accessible. It’s a fair proportion of our work, particularly photos.

“I’m 67. The problem is, I’m still the youngest member. Most of the 24 volunteers are in their 70s or even older.

“We are always looking for young blood to join the group. If they don’t join, it’ll just fold up.”

Christopher Gurteen, the group’s president, agreed.

“Of course young volunteers are needed,” he said. “But we do have a very loyal group of volunteers which is amazingly dedicated. They get really involved. This group is very important because it documents the history of Haverhill. History that would otherwise be lost.

The group was recently awarded museum status for a second time, which has helped it to apply for grants.

“Money’s getting scarce,” added Mrs Pearse. “But this has helped.”

 

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