Marsh Award Winners 2021

Marsh Award Winners 2021

29 Mar 2021

Every year the Marsh Christian Trust recognises some of the outstanding contributions made by volunteers of The Arts Society in the field of heritage conservation and arts education.

Brian Marsh OBE, Chairman of the Marsh Christian Trust, comments:

During such a difficult time for so many people, we are pleased to once again be working with The Arts Society to recognise volunteers across Societies both in the UK and internationally who are committed to helping to conserve and promote the decorative and fine arts in their local communities. Since the Awards were first presented in 2013, we have been able to celebrate the work of a great range of volunteers, and this year we have been able to recognise those who have gone above and beyond to promote the work of The Arts Society and keep members engaged during this time of separation. I would like to pass on my congratulations to this year’s winners and thank them for their commitment and contributions.

We are delighted to announce the 2021 prize-winners:


ADFAS Newcastle provides grants each year to enable budding young artists in the region, up to the age of 25 years, to develop in arts-related activities. Funding for these grants is provided through donations from ADFAS members. Applications are from not-for-profit organisations, for grants to support projects that are: arts related; to benefit one or number of participants (both artists/performers and audiences): consider relative disadvantage of participants, including disability, socio-economic status, and indigenous status or have the potential to promote a lasting sustainable outcome in community arts activities. Each year, previous applicants can apply to ensure the criteria is still the same. Sometimes it can be a one-off grant for the year. In 2020 the following five groups were awarded a total of $5000 which was raised by donations and raffles: 

  1. Newcastle Youth Orchestra – The support includes the fees for the musician to be part of the Newcastle Youth Chamber Orchestra and Newcastle Youth Orchestra.
  2. Musica Viva Australia - This project will support and nurture the existing singing and vocal community of Newcastle and the Hunter region through a free public masterclass facilitated by members of world class American vocal ensemble Chanticleer with participation from several school and young adult choirs. 
  3. Young People's Theatre - Scholarship to enable economically and socially disadvantaged students to attend theatre school classes.
  4. Waratah Girls' Choir - This project seeks to support financially challenged members of the Waratah Girls’ Choir.
  5. Newcastle Music Festival - Sensory concert for children with special needs. 


In addition, through the Patricia Robertson Fund, a donation of $5000 was given towards the historic rehanging of the John Coburn theatre curtains for one day only on May 21st. These magnificent curtains known as the ‘Curtain of the Sun’ and the ‘Curtain of the Moon’ were commissioned for the opening of the Opera House in 1973.


Heritage Volunteers from The Arts Society Stourbridge have spent 1,844 hours over two years at Harvington Hall, cataloguing, digitising and archiving a huge collection of images never before systematically stored or ordered. The 4000-plus images it holds - mostly (though not only) photographic - record the history, the fabric and the life of the Hall across more than a century; they also parallel the development of photography as a technology and an art-form. 

The Heritage Volunteer group has created a set of archives, an Excel database and a catalogue which combine to form a valuable resource for the wider community as well as for the Hall itself. This resource is user-friendly, requiring no specialist knowledge to access it, and will be supported by induction training from volunteers themselves. 

Its structure and operation provide a robust and effective template for similar projects elsewhere. The potential benefits of this project to the wider community range from enhanced opportunities for scholarship and research (across a range of disciplines - history, architecture, etc) and making new materials available to national databases such as Historical Environment Records, to the creation of ‘virtual’ access to areas and aspects of the Hall itself, not otherwise possible for disabled and other visitors.

Benefits to the Hall and its management range from digital access to images and to accurate records, for use in conservation and maintenance work, to significant reduction of the need for physical handling of fragile and irreplaceable original images. 

A simple concept, but effectively realised only through sustained commitment and detailed, dedicated work, this project demonstrates how ‘heritage’ is a benefit to the whole community, not just to enthusiasts!


Richard has been extraordinary during Covid and instrumental in getting activity going online via Zoom aand sharing his knowledge widely with other Societies by being constantly available via phone, email and Zoom. He took the fear away and his enthusiasm created a positive energy across many parts of the UK. He has gone above and beyond his duties required of him at Richmond and inspired many other Societies.


At the beginning of Lockdown in March Cheryl formed Roseacre Gardens Little Art and Roseacre Gardens Teen Art on Zoom for children/students in her neighbourhood. As a graduate in Ceramics and a primary school teacher she was well placed to keep Art alive during this difficult period when 'home schooling' focussed on the core curriculum. However, what grew out of the children's classes was even more exciting; Roseacre Grown Up Art. 15 adults met on Zoom on Tuesday evening throughout Lockdown to discuss different works of Art and paint a versions of the same picture or use the painting as an inspiration for their own work of Art. It was a very diverse group age wise and geographically. The overwhelming conclusion at the end of August was that the classes were a lifeline during those long months and the members voted unanimously to continue meeting every other Tuesday.


Liz has been involved in Art @ The Station working with schools in the Guildford Area and liaising with South West Railway and ACORP to produce successful and exciting displays of work. She has also been involved in supporting and promoting Art @ The Station for The Arts Society. Liz works with local schools and community groups encouraging and supporting them in producing work for display. So far 15 schools have either participated, or agreed to participate, this year in 3 stations: Woking, Guildford and Farncombe. Art @ the Station was nominated by South West Railway and shortlisted in the Community Art Schemes - Renewable and Smaller category of the Community Rail awards. 

Liz now advises and supports Societies nationwide wishing to adopt the scheme. She is also working on a collaboration between South West Railway, The Arts Society Guildford, and Guildford to create a mural in the underpass of Guildford station.


Gill has been a member of the Dukeries committee since 2011. In March 2013 she instigated and formed a volunteer group to create the Society's first Children's Trail at All Saints church Babworth, one of the Pilgrim Fathers' churches. This was followed by trails at 6 more churches, including Scrooby and Austerfield. These three Pilgrim Fathers' churches were being included in a Pilgrims' Trail which our local council was planning in 2020 to celebrate and promote the 400th anniversary of the Pilgrim Fathers' journey in The Mayflower. It was anticipated that large numbers of visitors, especially Americans, would be travelling to our area and visiting these churches. Gill negotiated with the council the free printing of the trails. Gill also suggested and created a Memory Trail at Carlton in Lindrick church, where a Children's Trail was already in place. This was trialled by a local Memory Cafe Group, run by the Alzheimer's Society and was a great success.

In February 2015 Gill joined the East Midlands Area Committee as representative for Children's Trails (now Trails of Discovery). In her Area role Gill has consistently helped, advised and encouraged those Societies who were doing or wanted to do trails. She also continues to help and encourage Societies in other areas, when requested, travelling many miles to meet up with them. Gill's enthusiasm and public spirit is evident in all she undertakes and is a highly valued member of her Society and of the Area committee.


Pete has enabled The Arts Society Harborough to engage members in a positive, inclusive way over the last year and not only regenerated the Society during Covid 19 but possibly saved it from being 'mothballed' for months on end. 

Having only joined the committee in April 2019, Pete was nomintated for his outstanding achievement in presenting online lectures, and far more than that, of gradually learning how to provide members with the opportunity to join Q and A sessions following lectures and also via Zoom to see each other possibly for the first time in months. Pete has provided a 'one click' access to lectures for members and an easy online feedback form. The appreciative emails from members, the high number of attendees and their positive feedback are all testament to the valuable and enjoyable experience our members are receiving in these difficult times. Importantly too, Pete will contact members individually if they are experiencing difficulty in accessing lectures.

 Pete has taken the committee with him every step of the way, by training and motivating them. He has given up his time willingly and always manages to sort out problems in a calm, confident way.

All in all, by working in collaboration with the rest of the committee, but at the same time showing the initiative to introduce new ways of reaching out to members, Pete White has made belonging to The Arts Society Harborough something for members to value and appreciate more than ever during the challenging and isolating time caused by the current Pandemic.


Beatrice was an inspirational Chair of Southport with a special commitment to involve young people in the arts. Working with the Atkinson she set up an evening Society more available to younger people which launched successfully in September 2019 and was followed by Vivienne Westwood workshops largely attended by 6th Form students and then Covid struck. She threw herself into new ways of keeping in touch with members and began organising lectures via Zoom.

After a round of telephone calls she devised IT lessons for those with no skills or confidence and personally supported them through it. During the course of this she identified a group of members largely elderly, living alone and with little outside support. Regular e-newsletters are hard copied and sent to non IT members with good photocopies of the Arts Society Instant Expert series. Having set up IT socialising in chat rooms, Beatrice took her personal art books to the homes of those not online and set up regular telephone contact. She has devoted a huge amount of time and energy to supporting all of her members as well as smaller Societies. She is dynamic, makes things happen and has generously shared her time with others.

Congratulations to all the winners! 

The awards will be presented later in the year.

About the Author

The Arts Society


Become an instant expert!

Find out more about the arts by becoming a Supporter of The Arts Society.

For just £20 a year you will receive invitations to exclusive member events and courses,  special offers and concessions, our regular newsletter and our beautiful arts magazine, full of news, views, events and artist profiles.

Find out more