Friday, August 29, 2008

Recording wartime memories at the 2005 Whitehaven Maritime Festival

Jemma Bellingham (left) and Helen Skelton (right) at the BBC "People's War" tent during the 2005 Whitehaven Maritime Festival
(Photograph by J. Ritson)

As a volunteer researcher for the BBC "People's War" project between 2004 and 2006 one of the most best aspects of it was the opportunity to work alongside some of the BBC reporters and other staff in helping those with wartime memories to record their story for posterity. One of the most memorable events during 2005 was the weekend of the Whitehaven Maritime Festival (24 - 26 June 2005) which incorporated the official WW2 60th Anniversary Victory Commemorations and a Parade of WW2 Veterans.

Among the BBC staff organising the "People's War" tent and volunteers at the Whitehaven Maritime Festival were Jemma Bellingham, Helen Skelton and Joan Armstrong. The above photograph shows Jemma and Helen in front of the "People's War" desk at this event. With more than 1000 WW2 veterans and many people present with memories of the 'Home Front' during WW2 the BBC "People's War" tent had a large number of visitors during the weekend of the 2005 Maritime Festival, many of them telling their stories for the project.

Joan Armstrong has went on to interview many people in their own communities for the BBC Radio Cumbria Bus and has also produced a number of radio programmes for the local radio station. Jemma Bellingham is a well-known and successful rally competitor and has since moved on to work for BBC Radio Lincoln. Helen Skelton co-presented the BBC Radio Cumbria Breakfast time programme for over a year, before moving to London. In 2008 Helen became one of the presenters of the BBC TV Children's programme "Blue Peter.

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