Much of work of the St Mellitus organ restoration project is done by volunteers, from the parishioners who put together the proposal for the organ restoration, to our fundraising and management boards and volunteer photographers.
One key area for volunteers is our busy volunteer archive research group. This meets on Saturday mornings, once a month, at the church; between these meetings volunteers carry out investigate work from their homes, using online archives. Through this important research, volunteers are bringing to light the real lives of the soldiers commemorated by the organ.
One of our volunteers, David Norton, spoke to us about what his work on the project means to him:
“I’m a journalist and have lived a couple of hundred yards from St Mellitus for 17 years, after making the conversion from south to north London. My wife Aileen and I were married at the church in 2007 and my son Joe was baptised here three years later. Becoming involved in the research project has been rewarding in many ways, perhaps most of all in strengthening my connection with the lovely local community among whom I have always felt so at home. And no less important has been developing a new appreciation of the unheralded and unsung locals of the past who fought and often died to preserve the freedom we enjoy today”
As well as a space to offer support to our volunteers, the meetings are an opportunity for local people to learn more about Stroud Green during the First World War through events and speakers. We recently organised a guided historic walk through the streets around St Mellitus, led by Islington Guided Walks. We dodged the showers and braved Storm Dennis during an inspiring outing. After the walk, one volunteer noted: “I am going to look afresh at the men I’m researching…They are emerging as real people, not just names and statistics.”