A PROJECT recording memories and thoughts about Surrey’s experience of the First World War has been highly commended in national awards.

Surrey Heritage received the recognition in the Archives & Records Association’s Archive Volunteering Award for its Surrey in the Great War: A County Remembers project.

The five-year National Lottery Heritage Fund-supported project, which will conclude next month,  aims to inspire and bring together the responses of current-day communities to the county’s role in the First World War. Through a range of volunteer activity, the project explores the war’s impact, particularly on the home front, and reveals the extraordinary contributions of Surrey’s people throughout the conflict.

The Surrey Heritage team is based in the Surrey History Centre in Goldsworth Road, Woking, and set out to involve individuals, families and groups, especially those who had previously not been involved in heritage.

This included young people, Muslim communities, and people with learning disabilities. The Surrey in the Great War website received contributions from people across the world.

Kirsty Bennett, the senior project officer for Surrey in the Great War: A County Remembers, said: “Our volunteers and project staff have been tirelessly enthusiastic throughout the project and we are very proud of what we have accomplished.

“This public recognition will inspire us all to take the skills and lessons learnt into new projects to share the endless fascination that encounters with the past can provide.”

Sally Bevan, secretary of the Archives & Records Association volunteer committee, said: “The project made a real impact on the volunteers and staff development.  There were a wide range of volunteer activities for a wide range of ages and a diverse volunteer group, which was well-managed and flexible.

“The panel really liked the way volunteers were able to contribute to the project and were able to develop their own ideas, such as the oral history element and the mentorship aspect.  The project produced a great online resource and the experiences and skills that staff have learned have had a beneficial impact on the service and will continue to be of value in future projects.”

For more information, visit www.surreyinthegreatwar.org.uk.