National recognition for stalwart of Hitchin’s British Schools Museum

Yvonne Limbrick, centre, receives her British Citizen Award from Dame Mary Perkins and Michael Under

Yvonne Limbrick, centre, receives her British Citizen Award from Dame Mary Perkins and Michael Underwood. Picture: BCA - Credit: Archant

For many people in and around Hitchin, the name Limbrick is synonymous with the British Schools Museum.

Now Yvonne Limbrick’s 23-year volunteering career at the unique heritage site has been given national recognition, with a British Citizen Award.

The BCAs recognise individuals who do extraordinary things in the community, and few could deny Yvonne has done that. Her schools programme has seen more than 80,000 children enjoy a fun and interactive hands-on trip to the museum off Queen Street.

BCA patron and Specsavers co-founder Dame Mary Perkins presented Yvonne with her medal. She said: “Yvonne has inspired many tens of thousands of young people in their education showing her empathy and pastoral care. A fitting recipient of a ‘people’s honour’ – the British Citizen Award.”

The BCAs were launched in 2015 with the aim of recognising exceptional individuals who work tirelessly and selflessly to make a positive impacton society.

They are awarded twice annually to ‘everyday people’ whose achievements might otherwise be overlooked. Yvonne is one of an elite band of just 300 recipients so far.

Modest Yvonne said: “I feel incredibly honoured to be presented with an award for work which has given me so much pleasure. I have worked with so many equally-deserving volunteer friends.

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“The British Schools Museum relies heavily upon the enthusiasm and loyalty of volunteers, led by a handful of similarly enthusiastic and professional staff.

“Together we have created a museum of which we can all be proud – and we shall all share the British Citizen Award, which I feel so very privileged to receive.”

Interviewed by the Comet back in 1995, when the British Schools Museum was still being set up, Yvonne said: “It will be a challenge – we have no money, but we will do it.”

The museum opened in 1996, initially on Tuesdays only. It is now open each Friday, Saturday and Sunday.

The museum’s Andy Gibbs has called Yvonne “an inspiration to everyone at the museum”.

“She is a delight to work with and tireless in her passion for the museum and care for the volunteers,” he said.

“Happily she shows no sign of ‘retiring’ from the museum. She is irreplaceable.”