Richard weaves his magic in Museum awards

Published Wednesday 28 September 2016 at 14:07

Blackburn Museum and Art Gallery volunteer Richard Croasdale, has been named the North West’s museum volunteer of the year.

The Blackburn resident who has restored the museum’s collection of looms, was given the prestigious title in the Marsh Volunteer Awards, a national scheme organised by The British Museum and the Marsh Christian Trust.

The awards aim to recognise the hugely valuable contribution that volunteers make in helping museums engage with their visitors.

Mr Croasdale, 81, was presented with the award at a ceremony held at The British Museum in London on Monday, September 26.

Volunteering at the museum since 2006, the retired fitter who was employed at the British Northrop Loom Company has steadily brought the looms that were in disrepair back into working order.

It took the great grandfather of six spent around two years sourcing or manufacturing from scratch missing parts, cleaning and repairing the looms.

He now volunteers once a week carrying out maintenance and demonstrating how the six machines work, bringing them to life for visitors.

Valued as an important member of the museum team, he also talks to visitors about life in the mills and growing up in Blackburn during and after World War II.

Mr Croasdale said:

I’m thrilled with the award; it was a wonderful day, one that I’ll always remember, a day of great occasion.  I’ve always been happy working at the museum and I hope to carry on for a good number of years more.

Councillor Damian Talbot, executive member for Culture, Leisure and Young People,said:

I’m delighted that Richard’s volunteering has been recognised. Without the dedication of people like Richard we simply couldn’t do the things we do as a Council.

I know that the team at the museum consider him an invaluable member of the team and value highly his considerable knowledge and ability to engage visitors in the history of the textile Blackburn, which he always does with a smile.

Joanna Mackle, Deputy Director of the British Museum said:

Museums could not reach and inspire the large number of people that they do each year without the commitment and enthusiasm of volunteers. The Marsh Awards recognise the invaluable contribution of volunteers in museums across the country.

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