Rushden Museum wins ‘People’s Choice’ prize at Althorp heritage night

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The Northamptonshire Heritage Forum celebrated the county’s history in its tenth annual awards ceremony at Althorp - home of the organisation’s patron Earl Spencer.

Among the winners this year was Sulgrave Manor, which scooped the grand title of Northamptonshire Heritage Organisation of the Year 2018.

The manor, under the leadership of Alison Ray, won for its ‘thoughtful and innovative total redevelopment of their visitor offering’.

A spokesman for the Forum said: “There is one award which is not judged by the panel, but rather by the public. This is the ‘People’s Choice Award’, supported by BBC Radio Northampton.

“This year the award was won by Rushden Museum, a great example of the high standards that can be reached by an all volunteer team.

“The evening was presented by John Griff of BBC Radio Northampton. John has long been a supporter of the county’s heritage, and this year was his tenth award ceremony. John was himself recognised and awarded a plaque for his contribution.

“This was both for his work as presenter for the ceremonies, and also for his work in promoting the People’s’ Choice Award, broadcasting interviews with all the candidates over the four weeks prior to each award ceremony.”

The spokesman added: “Members of the Forum are invited to submit entries for as many categories as they wish.

“A panel of heritage specialists judges the entries and chooses a winner for each award, with a highly commended certificate for worthy runners up. The panel then chooses the organisation which has most impressed them overall.

“Jane Baile of Prebendal Manor, and chair of the Northamptonshire Heritage Forum offered her closing remarks at the end of the event.

“She thanked all the members for their enthusiastic participation, as the Forum is considered to be one of the best supported and most innovative in the country.

“Claire Brown and Sarah Hartshorne from Museum Development East Midlands were thanked for their continued support, both financial and technical.

“Jane pointed out that the biggest thanks need to go to the more than 2,000 Northamptonshire volunteers who make up most of the workforce in the heritage sector.

“Finally thanks were given to Sarah Peacock and Carole Bancroft-Turner for their hard work in organising the event over many years.”