Stonehenge illuminated in dedication to unsung champions of UK heritage

Stonehenge at sunset illuminated with eight people
The historic takeover, unveiled by TV historian Sir Tony Robinson, is in honour of eight heritage heroes who have kept National Lottery funded projects going during the pandemic.

The 5,000 year old sarsen stones of Stonehenge have been temporarily illuminated with the faces of eight committed individuals from heritage projects across the UK. Their work throughout the COVID-19 pandemic has been supported by 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.”

Sir Tony Robinson

The projections mark the first time that the stones at the world-renowned site have been dedicated to individual members of the public.

A video projection of Sir Tony Robinson, prohibited from attending the display in person due to current restrictions, introduced the eight heritage heroes. Watch a video below.

He said: “I love the fact that Stonehenge is being lit up as a tribute to some of the nation’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.”

72% of adults said outdoor spaces had had a positive effect on their mental wellbeing this year, whilst 43% said that heritage sites make them feel more relaxed and less anxious in difficult times.

The eight heritage heroes

James Rodliff

James Rodliff stone projection

English Heritage’s James Rodliff is Operations Manager at Stonehenge. Without any visitors to the iconic site, and with 92% of the Stonehenge team furloughed, James worked with a small team throughout lockdown to ensure the care and conservation of the monument.

James was instrumental in planning for the safe re-opening of the site in early July.

He commented, “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.”

 

Mick Byrne stone projection

Mick Byrne

Mick is one of many volunteers that strive to provide a world class visitor experience at the National Memorial Arboretum in Staffordshire – the UK’s year-round centre of remembrance, freely open to all. The team have provided socially distanced walks and ensured the stories of the fallen could continue to be told.

 

William Colvin stone projection

William Colvin

William has worked hard to transform the deconsecrated Cushendun Old Church, located in an isolated village on Northern Ireland's Antrim Coast, into a community arts and heritage venue and keep it open to members during lockdown.

 

Uzo Iwobi stone projection

Uzo Iwobi OBE

Uzo is the founder of Race Council Cymru Wales. She led the first ever Black History Wales 365 initiative, an ambitious year-long cultural programme of events, and provided invaluable support to grassroots ethnic minority communities during the pandemic.

 

Susan Pitter stone projection

Susan Pitter

Susan is Eulogy Programme Director & Curator at the Jamaica Society, which provides a voice to unheard and sometimes challenging stories of the Jamaican community in Leeds. She recently curated a gallery of 40 images of residents from the 1940s and 1960s – turning them from black and white into colour – for the online ‘Back to Life’ exhibition.

 

Luke Strachan stone projection

Luke Strachan

Luke is the CEO of Wild Things in north east Scotland. His work on the pioneering Silver Saplings project has helped whole communities and vulnerable older people, including care home residents, take part in nature-based activities, tackling isolation, loneliness and immobility.

 

Lee Turner stone projection

Lee Turner

The Penllergare Trust works towards restoring the Penllergare Valley Woods in south Wales. Lee has run the project throughout the pandemic, keeping the woods open and safe for visitors during lockdowns and beyond. 

 

Jade West stone projection

Jade West

Jade is Volunteer Co-ordinator at the The Skylark IX Recovery Trust in West Dunbartonshire, Scotland. She has played a vital part in enabling the charity to continue providing training and skills development for recovering drug addicts during lockdown. They are helping to restore a Dunkirk Little Ship which rescued over 600 men during the Second World War.

 

Paying tribute to all heritage workers

“I would like to thank each and every one of them for their passion, commitment and the profound and positive impact they are having on the sector."

Ros Kerslake CBE, Chief Executive of The National Lottery Heritage Fund

The National Lottery has helped fund almost 1,000 heritage sites and projects across the UK in response to the pandemic.

Their new research, released today, found that 72% of adults said outdoor spaces had had a positive effect on their mental wellbeing this year, whilst 43% said that heritage sites make them feel more relaxed and less anxious in difficult times.

Ros Kerslake CBE, Chief Executive of The National Lottery Heritage Fund, said: “The National Lottery is playing a crucial role in supporting heritage sites and projects during the crisis, but it’s the important work of the thousands of amazing individuals, some of whom we are celebrating and honouring today, that keep these places going and make our visits memorable.

“I would like to thank each and every one of them for their passion, commitment and the profound and positive impact they are having on the sector.

“None of this would have been possible of course without National Lottery players, who raise around £30million each week for good causes.”

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