Bede museum volunteers urged to dig deep for memories

DIG IT ... Rosemary Cramp leads a dig at Bede's World in Jarrow in 1969.

DIG IT ... Rosemary Cramp leads a dig at Bede's World in Jarrow in 1969.

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HELPERS who took part in excavations at a historic site in South Tyneside are being asked to sift through their memories as the lasting legacy of their efforts is put together.

Dame Rosemary Cramp recruited volunteers during the 1960s and 70s to help take part in digs as she pressed for her vision of a museum to celebrate the life of Venerable Bede, who lived at the churches of St Paul in Jarrow and St Peter in Wearmouth.

Bede's World celebrates the life of the father of English history, the Venerable Bede.

Bede's World celebrates the life of the father of English history, the Venerable Bede.

Anyone over the age of six was encouraged to join in. Now with a search for photos launched, their stories are to be collected on audio and film as part of the Groundbreaker project.

The finished display will go on show in the entrance to the Jarrow museum and has been given a boost of £10,000 by the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) and £4,500 from Artsfund Treasures Plus the Headley Fund, which will cover digital areas of work.

Mike Benson, director of Bede’s World, said: “All those years ago, she was the driving force behind creating the museum and stopping the collection going to Newcastle and Sunderland and keeping it the locality where it was found.

“This is all about celebrating the dig, celebrating the fact the museum is still here and the vision and the drive Rosemary had.

This is all about celebrating the dig, celebrating the fact the museum is still here, and the vision and the drive Rosemary had.

Bede’s World director Mike Benson

“It’s also about taking us back to our roots, to where we began.”

The HLF funding is part of a £40,000 cash windfall for North East groups to help them tell heritage stories.

Ivor Crowther, head of the HLF in the North East, said: “Thanks to money raised by National Lottery players, an amazing range of projects across the North East have been able to conserve and share heritage at a very local level.

“We’re extremely proud of our Sharing Heritage programme, especially the vital role community organisations and volunteers play – after all, who knows a community and its heritage better than the people who live within it?

“In fact more than 30,000 volunteers have given an amazing 1.1 million hours of their time to completed projects – both large and small – across the North East.”

Anyone who took part in the digs led by Dame Rosemary DBE and CBE, who is a Professor of Archaeology Emeritus at Durham University, can contact Mike via mike.benson@bedesworld.co.uk or call the museum on 489 2106.

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