The plan was to assemble a core team who would each undertake to deliver one element of a multifaceted Project and recruit such volunteers as they thought were necessary for the task. And these team leaders would form a steering group to direct and co-ordinate the Project as a whole. Inevitably as the Project developed and new aspects were added to the initial list of aims these roles would change and be modified as the team adapted to changing circumstances and work pressures. The first task of the embryo steering group was to decide what to include in the Lottery application. This depended as much on what we thought a heritage project should include, based on what other villages had done, as it did on the individual talents, experience, and personal interests of the steering group members.
By mid 2009 the volunteers had been working for two and a half years. All the
individual projects were progressing to a greater or lesser extent but some, including the final route of the battlefield trail and the location of village signs, could not be decided pending the outcome of the public enquiry following the decision to dual the A46. In recognition of these problems the Heritage Lottery Fund agreed to an initial extension of the Project to January 2010, then to July 2010, and finally, when the possibility of reopening an old public footpath across the battlefield seemed a possibility, to September 2010.
The Pentagon's contribution had been estimated in the application to be 3500 hours. In the event they more than doubled that and by the end of July 2010 the volunteers had spent over 7000 hours on the Project. We were very proud of what we had achieved and it deserved to be celebrated on a similarly appropriate scale. All the village societies were therefore invited to put on special events in 2010 to celebrate what was then named Elston Heritage Year. The invitation was warmly taken up and a series of events were advertised at the start of the year. These included a choral concert in the church, an Edwardian cricket match, a banquet with a menu from a Darwin family recipe book, guided tours of the heritage trail, the opening up of The Old Forge, and a film show of Elston's celebration of the Queen's Silver Jubilee in 1977, as well as the usual annual exhibitions, all given a heritage slant. The pupils of All Saints Primary School designed a logo to be used at every event.
The members of the Elston Heritage Project Steering Group would like to
express their sincere thanks to all of those Elston residents, and those who live
farther afield but who still hold Elston dear to their hearts, who contributed
photographs, documents, information and their support to make this Project
such a success. We would also like to thank the Heritage Lottery Fund for providing the funding to enable us to undertake these challenging tasks.
And lastly, we would like to thank most of all, the people who freely gave so
much of their time, their talents, and their enthusiasm to make this all such a
worthwhile, rewarding, and enjoyable exercise. We hope in the process that
we have inspired an interest in Elston's heritage but also in heritage for its own
sake and perhaps encouraged other villages to do what we have done.
We must not forget our forbears and our predecessors, who have given Elston
its character and made it the friendly and welcoming village it is today. We
confidently expect that other enthusiasts will again take up the challenge with
a similar project in decades to come when we ourselves have become part of
Elston's heritage. To the young person who reads this who will one day write
the history of Elston, we have given you the key to a substantial treasure house
of information. And to those who will one day undertake a similar enterprise,
I hope we will be judged to have been a hard act to follow.
Acting Project Leader