A Ribble Valley woman with a passion for bringing history to life has been given her dream job working with England’s biggest festival of history and culture, Heritage Open Days.
Clitheroe’s Harriet Roberts has been appointed media manager for Heritage Open Days to work with the London-based team promoting 5,000 events and activities across England taking place between September 8th and 11th this year.
Harriet’s interest in Heritage Open Days began when she organised an event at the old Blackburn Orphanage building, the headquarters of the charity Child Action Northwest, in Wilpshire in 2011. She used the story of the founder, James Dixon, and the archives to bring the charity to the attention of the national press and BBC television coverage.
Since then, Harriet has been encouraging more volunteers and organisations to open the doors of their buildings to share their stories and in 2014 launched the Blackburn Heritage Festival, which included 100 events in 50 venues over two days.
Harriet, who worked for the BBC for 20 years as a programme maker and event organiser, met the Heritage Open Days team face-to-face for the first time in July last year when she was invited on a panel of organisers to share her experiences at the festival’s national launch at the Royal Institute of British Architecture. She had the opportunity to meet the Secretary for Culture, Media and Sport, John Whittingdale, and representatives from across the heritage sector.
Speaking about her new role, Harriet said: “It was such an honour to be part of the launch event last year and I’m thrilled to be now part of the team. I’m really happy to be able to bring my professional skills and passion together in this exciting new challenge.”
Katja Condy, Heritage Open Days manager, said: “We are excited to welcome Harriet to our team. Heritage Open Days couldn’t happen without the passion and professionalism of our grass roots supporters, and Harriet epitomises just that. With her insights as a local Heritage Open Days organiser and her journalistic background, she’ll be a great asset for the festival.”