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Why 5th November is an important date for The Mills Archive

No, it’s not because of Bonfire Night! It was on 5th November 5 years ago that Elizabeth Trout first joined the Archive as a volunteer before becoming our Information Manager in 2011. Elizabeth provides a valuable role in answering enquiries from the public on a wide range of issues, and uses her experience as a professional Librarian to manage our vast library of books relating to milling. Her passion, enthusiasm and dedication have shaped the Archive and are felt by all of our volunteers and staff.

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She has also been especially keen to promote volunteering as a useful form of work experience for young people trying to break into the archives and charity sectors. She is responsible for matching our volunteers to projects and ensuring they are made to feel very welcome and a part of the team.

In a strange twist of fate, Guy Boocock began volunteering here on the same date 3 years ago. He has worked on a number of projects, including the Stephen Buckland and Niall Roberts Collections and more recently working with our Archivist to revise the catalogue data in preparation for our move to a new catalogue system. He has enjoyed success in winning a place on the Vodafone World of Difference Programme for two years running. He is also gaining work experience and skills in archiving for his future career, and so he is enjoying the opportunities that Elizabeth has helped to create.

From my own experience of starting as a volunteer, and subsequently finding opportunity for employment as the Archive’s Development Officer, both Elizabeth and Guy have made me feel most welcome and part of the team. I appreciate the work that Elizabeth does as it has positive implications for my work in developing relationships and ensuring that the Archive is sustainable. Her particular interest in social and family history has helped to attract and support people who are interested in accessing our archival resources for this purpose and has helped some to uncover long-lost ancestors.

Guy’s success and experience in winning a place on the Vodafone World of Difference Programme in the past encouraged me to also apply, and we both became World of Difference Winners earlier this year. As well as the vast amount of material he has catalogued and therefore made accessible to the public, I have been impressed by Guy’s keenness to promote The Mills Archive to a wide range of people, and recently he has started to help me by keeping our Facebook page up to date.

On behalf of The Mills Archive, I’d like to thank Elizabeth and Guy for their constant hard work and dedication – not to mention their almost unnatural ability to keep the team fed and watered with cake and coffee – and I hope we may enjoy their company for years to come.