Stonehenge lights up in tribute to Covid's heritage champions

Steven Morris
·2-min read
<span>Photograph: Matt Alexander/PA</span>
Photograph: Matt Alexander/PA

The efforts of eight people who have continued working on heritage, community and arts projects during the Covid crisis have been celebrated in a spectacular light show at Stonehenge.

Images of the group, including volunteers ranging from an arboretum guide who carried on leading tours, to the curator of an exhibition telling the story of a West Indian community in Britain, were beamed on to the great stone circle.

It is believed to be the first time a group of individuals has been at the centre of such a night-time installation at the prehistoric monument on Salisbury Plain.

Among those celebrated were Mick Byrne, a volunteer from the National Memorial Arboretum in Staffordshire, who has been providing socially distanced walks for people.

Also featured was Susan Pitter, from the Jamaica Society Leeds, who worked during the pandemic to curate a gallery of 40 images of residents from the 1940s and 1960s in an exhibition called Back to Life.

Alongside her image was that of William Colvin, a volunteer who helped keep a deconsecrated holy building, Cushendun Old Church, on the Antrim coast in Northern Ireland open as an arts and heritage centre.

The founder of Race Council Cymru, Uzo Iwobi, who led and delivered the first ever Black History Wales 365 initiative, an ambitious year-long educational, heritage, cultural and celebratory programme of events, was featured.

Also celebrated was the operations manager at Stonehenge, James Rodliff, of English Heritage, who has kept the monument safe and secure during lockdown. He said he was “surprised and humbled”, adding: “I certainly didn’t expect to turn up to work and see my face up in lights.”

Ros Kerslake, the chief executive of the National Lottery Heritage Fund, which was behind the project, said: “It’s the important work of the thousands of amazing individuals, some of whom we are celebrating and honouring, that keep these places going and make our visits memorable.”