Oh what a night…

Sparkling wine, swag bags, gorgeous surroundings, a 5 foot impact report and of course cake….it must be the Heritage Open Days launch party.

© Chris Lacey - The castle and cake await!

On Tuesday, we had a great evening celebrating the national launch of Heritage Open Days 2018 and our Unsung Stories project put her forward. I had the privilege of speaking to the assembled crowd about my love for Heritage Open Days: the people, the stories and the places. And about my great admiration for the thousands of dedicated organisers whose creativity, ingenuity and hard work ARE the festival. A topic I could easily speak for hours about!

Inspired by non zero one's call to 'put her forward', guests got nominating on the night! © Chris Lacey

John Orna Ornstein, the National Trust’s Director of Culture and Engagement and Clara Govier, Managing Director of People’s Postcode Lottery were both in attendance and spoke about the importance of heritage for everyone.

non zero one told us more about put her forward, reminding us that there are more public statues of men called John than there are of non-mythical women and inviting us all to consider the women who have made a difference to our lives and the communities around us. The crowd was visibly inspired and moved.

Who better to cut the cake than some of our wonderful local organisers with National Trust lead, Denise Foster © Chris Lacey

We also got to hear from some of our organisers who are taking the theme of Extraordinary Women and creating a range of exciting events: from a walking tour of the radical women of Southampton and an exploration of anonymous female servants to a celebration of Marti Caine and tea with a suffragist at Winchester College.

It felt very right to be at the—gorgeous! – Foundling Museum, an active HODs participant, who have championed and helped women throughout history…and still do today!

The evening ended with a toast (with fantastic sparkling wine from our friends at Albury Vineyard) to our nation of heritage makers and Extraordinary Women. It was a night that was fun, fascinating, moving and inspiring...in other words a very HODs night!

p.s. there were big slices of cake in the goodie bags, natch