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Ripon Workhouse Museum celebrates amazing milestone

The Mayor of Ripon, Coun Pauline McHardy, with her consort, Coun Eamon Parkin, joined staff, volunteers and trustees of Ripon Workhouse Museum to celebrate the milestone. Pictured are Richard Taylor, Val Monk, Lindy Webb, Bev Hall, Phil Hall, Linda Campbell, Roy Brooks, and Drene Brooks.
The Mayor of Ripon, Coun Pauline McHardy, with her consort, Coun Eamon Parkin, joined staff, volunteers and trustees of Ripon Workhouse Museum to celebrate the milestone. Pictured are Richard Taylor, Val Monk, Lindy Webb, Bev Hall, Phil Hall, Linda Campbell, Roy Brooks, and Drene Brooks.

It's amazing to think that the main block of Ripon Workhouse Museum has only been open for one year.

It's amazing because a staggering amount has been achieved in just 12 months, and it's thanks to the hard work and dedication of the museum's volunteers, staff and trustees, who have driven the building's remarkable transformation with their endless enthusiasm and determination.

An impressive number of rooms in the main block have already been restored and opened for city residents and visitors to enjoy - and there are still many more exciting projects in the pipeline.

Only last week, the museum proudly unveiled its restored master's garden, which was officially opened by the Chair of the Yorkshire Garden Trust, Val Hepworth.

And on Saturday, friends and supporters of the museum gathered to celebrate one year of the main block being open, at the master and matron's summer garden party - with traditional stalls, games, and a birthday cake.

The Mayor of Ripon, Coun Pauline McHardy, and the Mayor's consort, Coun Eamon Parkin, were among the invited guests.

Museum volunteer Lindy Webb, said: "When I first walked into the main block of the workhouse last year and saw the dreadful mess it was in, I could have cried. But as volunteers and staff, we have just rolled up our sleeves and started to bring it back to life.

"We managed to achieve the first stage in just six weeks, opening to the public in July last year. Since then, we have carried on working towards what you see today. Of course it is still a work in progress, but when the visitors have gone and I walk around the empty building before locking up, I really feel that what we have done in one year is quite phenomenal.

"If the building could speak, I think it would say thank you for restoring it to life. On Saturday, we all sang happy birthday to main block. I like to imagine that the building gave a little smile of happiness to know that it's safe and loved, and is being restored.

"We are like a family working together to restore part of Ripon's heritage, and conserve it for future generations."

Volunteers manager, Wendy Hunwick-Brown, said: "We just couldn't achieve anything without our volunteers - they bring so much enthusiasm and a real can-do attitude. They all have such a variety of skills and experiences."

Wendy told the 'Gazette that the visitor satisfaction survey's results for the museum show the boost that the main block has given to their visitor offer.

Ripon Museums are always looking for more volunteers, and would love to hear from any residents interested in joining their team.

Email wendy.hunwick-brown@riponmuseums.co.uk to find out more.