Good Causes

Stonehenge lights up to honour heroes of UK heritage

Stonehenge has been illuminated with the faces of some of the UK’s heritage heroes. The night-time celebration used eight projectors to honour remarkable individuals who have worked tirelessly to keep the UK’s heritage sites accessible during the pandemic and beyond, with the support of National Lottery funding.

Stonehenge has been illuminated with the faces of some of the UK’s heritage heroes. The night-time celebration used eight projectors to honour remarkable individuals who have worked tirelessly to keep the UK’s heritage sites accessible during the pandemic and beyond, with the support of National Lottery funding.

One of those faces projected onto the stones of the ancient monument belongs to English Heritage’s James Rodliff. He’s the Operations Manager at Stonehenge and was instrumental in planning for the safe re-opening of the site in early July. James and his team received fantastic feedback from visitors, for both the safe and warm welcome they received.

Without any visitors to the iconic site, and with most of the Stonehenge team furloughed, James worked with a small team throughout lockdown to ensure the care and conservation of the 5,000-year-old monument.

James said, “I’m surprised and humbled by this recognition from The National Lottery. I certainly didn’t expect to turn up to work and see my face up in lights. English Heritage has worked exceptionally hard – at Stonehenge and the hundreds of historic sites in our care – to look after these inspiring places and to welcome back people safely to them.”

TV’s Sir Tony Robinson, who unveiled the historic takeover of the stone circle said, “I love the fact that Stonehenge is being lit up as a tribute to some of the country’s key project workers and volunteers, letting the public know about the hard work they’ve been doing to keep our heritage accessible to everyone using National Lottery funding. Without the graft and tireless effort of these wonderful people, our much-loved heritage would be more at risk than ever this year.

“As a nation we have a deep love for our open spaces and historic places. Understanding our heritage makes us feel closer to where we live and can bring a great deal of joy. Lots of us have spent many hours during lockdown enjoying our culture and heritage.”

Although he wasn’t able to attend the display due to current coronavirus restrictions, a video projection of Sir Tony made an appearance to introduce the heritage heroes.

Heritage sites and green spaces have played an important role in keeping people healthy during the pandemic according to a new survey commissioned by The National Lottery. It reveals that 72% of adults say outdoor spaces have had a positive effect on their mental wellbeing this year with 43% saying that heritage sites make them feel more relaxed and less anxious in difficult times, and nearly half (49%) saying heritage sites make them proud of their local area. Players of The National Lottery have helped fund almost 1,000 heritage sites and projects across the UK during the pandemic to support them during lockdown.

The other heritage heroes whose faces were projected onto Stonehenge are:

  • Mick Byrne who volunteers at the National Memorial Arboretum in Staffordshire with a small team to ensure the relatives of soldiers would have a place to visit and honour the fallen.
  • William Colvin, of Cushendun, Northern Ireland, who has worked tirelessly to rescue a deconsecrated church – The Cushendun Old Church – and keep it functioning and accessible during lockdown.
  • Uzo Iwobi OBE, founder of Race Council Cymru Wales, who delivered the first ever Black History Wales 365 initiative despite the pandemic.
  • Susan Pitter, from The Jamaica Society, Leeds, which provides a voice to the Jamaican community in Leeds. Despite the pandemic she curated a gallery of 40 images of residents from the 1940s and 1960s, turning them from black and white into colour so their stories could be told.
  • Luke Strachan, CEO of Wild Things, an environmental charity in north east Scotland, oversaw the pioneering Silver Saplings project helping whole communities tackling isolation, loneliness and immobility.
  • Lee Turner, from Penllergare Trust, Wales, who continued his work restoring a heritage woodland throughout the pandemic.
  • Jade West, Volunteer Coordinator at the Skylark IX Recovery Trust in West Dunbartonshire, Scotland. The project is restoring a Dunkirk Little Ship,

    which rescued over 600 men during the Second World War.

2nd December 2020

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