Unusual exhibition celebrates the lives of Walkern's older generation

PUBLISHED: 10:14 09 July 2019

The exhibition in Walkern at the weekend celebrated the lives of the older generation. Picture: Chris O'Brien.

The exhibition in Walkern at the weekend celebrated the lives of the older generation. Picture: Chris O'Brien.

Archant

A novel outdoor exhibition celebrating the lives of older people in Walkern was on display at the weekend.

There are plans to extend the exhibition to include recordings of participants' life stories. Picture: Chris O'Brien.There are plans to extend the exhibition to include recordings of participants' life stories. Picture: Chris O'Brien.

Life Stories: Celebrating Long Life in Walkern is the brainchild of Carolyn Gardner and included up to 30 giant black and white images of older Walkern residents on large easels in the village park, with a quote from each subject about their life.

Carolyn, who lives in Walkern, said: "The inspiration for this exhibition came from the formal twinning visit between Walkern and Lanvallay in Brittany, France, where I was impressed by an outdoor exhibition of large format photographs of some of the older residents of the town.

"I liked the way they were honouring their elders by displaying their photographs.

"I thought it would be good to do something similar in Walkern, where we are blessed with an older generation of residents with interesting stories to tell.

"The response has been overwhelming and I have received much enthusiasm and support in setting up this new venture.

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"I am particularly grateful to professional photographer Rich Sisson, whose striking photos have captured the characters of the subjects so well."

Chris O'Brien, who also lives in Walkern, said: "The exhibition was a really striking sight as you walked up the High Street.

"It was fascinating to learn more about some of the older members of the community, many of whom have lived here since birth.

"This kind of initiative can really strengthen the sense of community in a place."

The project, run by a small committee of residents on behalf of Walkern History Society and St Mary's Church, is set to be extended to include recordings of participants' memories and life stories, which will be exhibited gradually from September.

Carolyn said: "I hope this project, as it develops, will give people the chance to tell their stories and reminisce together, renew friendships from the past and create new friendships.

"There is a strong core of older residents who keep the village spirit alive, and are also welcoming to newer residents like me. They are forward-looking in helping to shape the future of the village too.

"The recordings and documents collected will form a snapshot of life in Walkern in the 21st century, and can be shared and celebrated with friends and families."

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