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Sandwich’s Magna Carta will be brought home to stay after cash boost from the Heritage Lottery Fund

By Eleanor Perkins

A £100,000 cash boost means Sandwich’s Magna Carta will be brought home to stay.

The Sandwich Toll Bridge Fund has received the cash from the Heritage Lottery Fund to enable the recently rediscovered Magna Carta and Charter of the Forest to be on permanent display in the Guildhall Museum.

It follows an appeal backed by KentOnline's sister paper the East Kent Mercury to bring the ancient documents back to their rightful home, led by the town council and Discovery Park.

Mayor Paul Graeme with curator Linda Elliott
Mayor Paul Graeme with curator Linda Elliott

The museum’s honorary curator, Linda Elliott, said: “Now that we have achieved this amazing support from the Heritage Lottery Fund we can present the history of Sandwich in a way that will appeal to all ages.

“Since the rediscovery of our very own Magna Carta and Charter of the Forest, the residents of Sandwich and surrounding villages have been very clear that they want these internationally important documents to be displayed in the town. This award will allow us to do this plus so much more.”

The grant money will be used to deliver a project entitled Sandwich History – Refreshed, Revised, Revisited – From Magna Carta to the 21st Century.

Staff will be “up-skilled” and the fascinating history of Sandwich will be told through artefacts, film and interactive media.

Sandwich's Magna Carta
Sandwich's Magna Carta

A series of events will be held too including lectures by eminent historians in 2017 and the town’s youth will be targeted for potential curriculum related outings.

Dementia friendly events will take place in association with Age Concern.

These events will endorse the museum in resident’s lives more fully and for longer.

Delighted mayor of Sandwich Cllr Paul Graeme said the money will be used wisely to improve the museum.

“It will build on our tourism offer for the future and ensure the Magna Carta can finally return to the town full-time.

“I’d like to thank the Mercury for its assistance in helping us achieve this by supporting our campaign,” he said.

Work will start when the museum closes for the winter in November and will reopen in April 2017.

The museum as it is now
The museum as it is now

The museum could not function without the volunteer workforce who give many hours to ensuring it is open to visitors and the artefacts are well cared for.

Mrs Elliott said: “More volunteers are needed as we are sure that once we re-open we will be much busier than we are now.

“With the HLF funding we will be up-skilling our volunteers’ knowledge and skills base so that we can provide visitors with a professional museum experience.

“Anyone interested in joining us in this wonderful project is invited to contact the Sandwich Guildhall or the museum and we will be delighted to tell them more about the opportunities that this project offers.”

Stuart McLeod, head of HLF South East, said: "Thanks to National Lottery players, this grant will also take the museum to the next level through training and events and we look forward to seeing the results of this investment.”

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