Marsh Award Winners 2023

Marsh Award Winners 2023

30 May 2023

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

"We are pleased once again to 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 is no different. We are glad to be able to highlight the important contributions that volunteers make to the arts, sharing their passion, knowledge and joy with wide audiences.

I would like to pass on my congratulations to this year’s winners and thank them for their commitment and contributions to promoting the arts on such a large scale."

Brian Marsh OBE

We are delighted to announce the 2023 prize-winners:


The Arts Society Beckenham Heritage Volunteers 

Since 1976 Heritage Volunteers from Beckenham have been working in the archives at Tate Britain. Over the years the group has worked painstakingly through newspaper and magazine articles relating to the arts, artists, exhibitions and the Tate to create a press cuttings collection which is available to those involved in arts history research. The group from Beckenham has received grateful thanks for this work from curators and the press office at the Tate and from the many researchers whose task has been made easier by the creation of the press cuttings collection.


Wendy Burdett of The Arts Society Harpenden Area

For over 21 years, Wendy has championed the cause of the arts through 17 projects involving young people, 2 of which were carried out during lockdown. These projects ranged from mosaics and textiles to totem poles and felting to a sensory fountain for disabled children. During the pandemic Wendy arranged for packs of art materials to be given out with food parcels at the local food bank.

Without Wendy’s hard work, diplomacy and negotiating skills involved in getting commitment from busy teachers, many of these worthwhile projects would never have seen the light of day. Wendy develops good relationships with the artists and is involved at all stages of the projects.


David and Dilys Farrant of the South West Area

David and Dilys were involved in Heritage Volunteering for over 15 years, 13 of those were as Area Representatives for the South West. The couple were involved in a broad range of projects including textiles (Dilys’ particular interest), libraries, garden recording, and more recently church inventories. Some of their projects were of national as well as local importance.

As a result of the Farrant’s enthusiasm, leadership, warmth and energy the majority of Societies in the South West have been involved in projects making a powerful contribution to local communities.

Sadly, Dilys Farrant passed away earlier this year but we were delighted to welcome David to collect the award at the AGM on 24th May.


Jan Tucker and Chris Hemming of The Arts Society Hereford

Since 2014, their outstanding work creating Church Trails in Herefordshire and beyond has helped raised children’s awareness and appreciation of the architecture, artefacts and history of their local church, village or town. Their work has also brought awareness of The Arts Society Hereford to a wider audience helping them to gain new members as a result.

At Area level, their guidance, support and expertise has been instrumental in helping a number of other Societies successfully create and launch Trails of their own. They really have been trailblazers for Trails of Discovery in their Area!


Careen Lindsay of The Arts Society Fife

This award is a slightly different in that it is a multi-disciplinary award and is for work in Arts Volunteering and Heritage Volunteering. 

Careen has been a member of her committee for almost 7 years. Initially her role was Arts Volunteering Co-ordinator but when the post of Heritage Volunteering co-ordinator became vacant she was happy to take up this challenge as well. Always on the lookout for new arts and heritage projects she has the ability to build good relationships with both volunteers and community project leaders enthusing everyone to come on board. As a result of Careen’s drive and energy The Arts Society Fife has been able to support a variety of local organisations and helping to benefit less fortunate members of the local community.


Penny O'Brien of The Arts Society Wylye Valley

Penny began volunteering for Wylye Valley in 1980 where she started by helping with the coffee at their lecture meetings. From this Penny progressed on to being Honorary Secretary, a post she held for 9 years which was followed by 7 years as Membership Secretary during which time membership numbers for the Society rose as a result of her drive. After this Penny was Programme Secretary and Vice-Chair for 3 years which was excellent preparation for that of Chairman: the position she was to hold for the next 4 years until 2008.

When many would have retired exhausted, at this point Penny then became Secretary for the Wessex Area and President of her Society. We have been told that in spite of all this, Penny does have a very active life outside of The Arts Society!


Susan (Susie) Pearson of The Arts Society Dorset County

Susie joined her Society’s committee in 2003 and has fulfilled every role on the committee bar one. Her final role of Chairman covered the covid years during which she stayed on an extra year until June last summer. She was very proactive from the beginning of covid by immediately embracing Zoom and keeping the Society active and members connected during lockdown. She would ring non-technical members to offer help with technology or simply to talk with them and make sure that they were OK. Susie also contacted neighbouring Societies offering them the opportunity to join her Society’s Zoom lectures if they were unable to provide these themselves. Susie was also Area Co-ordinator for Education between 2010 and 2013 and whilst ‘officially retired’, continues to be active in helping and supporting Dorset County where she can.

Susie’s dedication and high standards have made an outstanding contribution to her Society and its continued success.



The Arts Society Solihull Heritage Volunteers Group

Individual Arts Volunteering

Ann Harrison of The Arts Society Bournemouth & East Dorset

Individual Multi-Discipline for work in Arts Volunteering and Heritage Volunteering

Barbara Ropek of Kent Area

Individual Society Committee Member

Tamara Rabin of The Arts Society Hampstead Heath
Lindi Reynolds of The Arts Society Kington Langley

Congratulations to all of the winners! 


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