Stonehenge has been temporarily illuminated with projections of eight individuals working in the UK heritage sector as part of a campaign to highlight the positive impact heritage sites have had on people’s mental health during the pandemic.
The National Lottery research found that 72% of people surveyed credit visiting outdoor spaces with having a positive effect on their mental wellbeing this year. Nearly half say they feel proud because of their local heritage sites and 43% say heritage sites make them feel more relaxed and less anxious in difficult times.
The night-time illumination on the 5,000 year-old sarsen stones was unveiled by a projection of TV historian Tony Robinson this morning. The eight people credited as the “unsung champions of heritage” are:
- Mick Byrne, a volunteer from the National Memorial Arboretum in Staffordshire, who led a small team to plant 30,000 trees to honour the victims of Covid and to provide a place for the grieving to visit.
- William Colvin, of Cushendun, a National Trust village in Northern Ireland, who helped rescue a deconsecrated church, and keep it accessible to its members during lockdown.
- Uzo Iwobi, founder of Race Council Cymru Wales, who delivered the first Black History Wales 365 initiative during the pandemic.
- Susan Pitter, from the Jamaica Society in Leeds, who 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- for a ‘Back to Life’ exhibition.
- Luke Strachan, chief executive officer of Wild Things environmental charity in north east Scotland, who is behind the Silver Saplings project helping communities and vulnerable older people to take part in naturebased activities.
- Lee Turner, from the Penllergare Trust in Wales, who helped restore a heritage woodland.
- Jade West, volunteer co-ordinator at the Skylark IX Recovery Trust in West Dunbartonshire, Scotland, who helped continue the charity’s work supporting the engagement, training and skills development of addiction recovery service clients during lockdown.
- James Rodliff, the operation manager at Stonehenge, who worked with a small team throughout lockdown to ensure the care and conservation of the 5,000-year-old monument and planned reopening in July.
“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,” said Tony Robinson.
“Without the graft and tireless effort of these wonderful people, our much-loved heritage would be more at risk than ever this year”.