Loving local heritage and history is the motivation that drives the volunteers of a Hucknall group.
Ken and Sheila Robinson have been steering the Hucknall Tourism and Regeneration Group since 2007 and are well known in the community they serve.
The pair, and their group of 20 volunteers, have been committed to raising the profile of the town and its surrounding area and all it has to offer for tourists and residents alike.
The group are represented at almost all the events held in the district from fairs, to church fetes, market days and carnivals in a bid to gather support and raise money to fund their summer bus trips.
Numerous tours take place each summer taking in sights of significance offering people from home and abroad a chance to learn about the heritage of the region.
“They have proved as popular as ever this year and have been over-subscribed,” said Sheila who is the group treasurer. “We have run 20 trips in total this year which have all been free apart from any admission prices or lunches we have negotiated a small cost for.”
The tours have taken people to DH Lawrence’s birthplace, Beauvale Priory, Bestwood Winding House, Papplewick Pumping Station as well as numerous churches across the region.
“Our trips are popular as many people are interested in the local heritage sites and want to learn more about the history of such places,” explained Sheila, who together with husband Ken delivers information during the trips and act as guides throughout the day.
“We have welcomed visitors from as far afield as Australia, New Zealand and this year we had a South African tourist for the first time,” added Sheila. “But we also have guests from much closer to home.
“One such visitor said he had lived in Hucknall for 76 years but came and shook my hand after thanking us as he had learnt things he never knew about the area.”
The group started taking bookings for the trips on 1st April but by the 1st May they were all sold out.
“We could fill the buses three times over and we regret having to disappoint people,” explains Sheila. “However to put on bigger buses is so much more expensive and would also give us practical problems too.”
With no charges for the trips, the group work hard all year-round raising money to help fund them with help also being received from Ashfield District and Nottinghamshire County Councils.
“Businesses from the town also sponsor the tours giving £65 for half day trips and £100 for full day tours. In return we give guests a welcome pack which includes any promotional material from the businesses.”
The group’s last trip runs on 14th October, in conjunction with Nottinghamshire County Council.
“It is a Medieval Monasteries tour visiting Beavale Priory, Rufford and Newstead Abbey,” added chairman, Ken. “I have been busy researching the medieval history of the landmarks we will visit so I have plenty of information to deliver on the day.”
Next year’s tours are already being organised. A new route for the group will include a visit to Bilsthorpe’s Mining Heritage Museum which is expected to be very popular.
Volunteers will also be busy attending events like the Hucknall Carnival on Wednesday 2nd December and Beauvale Priory Christmas Fair on Sunday 6th Decemeber.
Ken will also be in Hucknall Library on Saturday 3rd October at 2pm to present a free talk about sport in the area from the time of Byron to the present day to mark National Sports’ Heritage Week.
“We both enjoy heritage and history and love doing it,” added Sheila. “It’s wonderful to help people get out and about and for us to speak to numerous groups from the young and not so young about the area’s history. Our volunteers also run the stand in the library so we are always on hand to give information and advice.”
Old people who live alone are also invited to a cream tea the group are running in conjunction with Tesco on Thursday 1st October at the Ashgate Road store. To book a place call Sheila on 0115 9638566.
Hucknall Tourism and Regeneration Group are also part of localgiving and from 14th October any donations up to £10 will be matchfunded for a short period. To donate visit localgiving.com/charity/hucknalltrg.
The group also have a Facebook page and are happy to publicise any event locally.