Despite being one of the warmest and sunniest afternoons of the year, about 90 local people turned out at the Great Witley Village Hall on Saturday 17th June to help the Witleys’ Oral History Group celebrate the formal end of their three year project.
Stephen Westacott, one of the project founders, introduced the event. Listen to his recording below:
There was a display in the Great Witley Village Hall of many of the photographs the Group has unearthed and presentations by members of the Oral History Group showing what has been achieved by this local project funded largely by the Heritage Lottery Fund but with support from Great Witley & Hillhampton Parish Council and Malvern Hills District Council.
The audience saw a short website presentation video (8 minutes) outlining whats on the website and how to find it.
David Williams, a member of the Group gave an overview of our recordings and played a short Overview of our Recordings.
Jo Loosemore, a BBC producer from Radio 4’s “Listening Project”, gave a talk linking the work of the Witleys’ Oral History Group to her work with the “Listening Project” and played some of the thousands of interviews that the “Listening Project” has collected since 2012. Jo Loosemore had also run workshops earlier in the day with some local residents with a view to presenting their conversations in a future edition of the programme on the BBC.
County Councillor Ken Pollock, who formally launched the project in 2014, closed the event by congratulating the Oral History Group on their achievements.
David Williams, a member of the Group, announced to the audience that the final stage of the project would be the distribution to all households in Little and Great Witley of a pack enclosing an hour-long CD featuring highlights of the many interviews that have taken place over the past three years on themes such as village life during World War II, changes in local agriculture, the growth of local businesses and the famous Red Marley Hill Climb. There will also be a DVD containing the full archive of recordings, photographs and documents collected by the group. The CD & DVD will be distributed in the early Autumn.
In the meantime, local residents were encouraged to take a look at the website which will be up and running for at least the next 5 years. Anyone interested either in keeping the website refreshed or in joining with others involved in local history were encouraged to contact the Group by email firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 01299 896432.