The hunt is on for anyone involved with the Women’s Land Army in the Leek area during the war years.
Borderland Voices, a community arts group that helps people with their mental health, has been given funding for a two year project exploring the connections between Land Army girls, Moorlands farm owners and the community.
Public launch events have been put on hold due to the pandemic, but Borderland Voices is still hoping people will come forward to get involved.
Coordinator Andy Collins said: ‘We were due to launch with public open days in Leek and the surrounding villages, to spread the word and encourage people to come forward with stories, reminiscences, anecdotes and even memorabilia.
“Obviously the Covid-19 situation means that some plans are on hold, but we’re still really keen to hear from older people who may remember seeing Land Girls, or from anyone with a family connection to a Land Girl or Lumber Jill. At the moment we’re relying on Zoom conferences and phone calls to get things going.”
Andy wants to involve Moorlands schools and help pupils to understand the contribution made by Land Girls during both the First and Second World War.
It is hoped the project will include writing, art, photography and lead to a 1940s open day. There will be a booklet, podcasts and a creative exhibition.
Andy added: “We’re delighted that we’ve received this support thanks to National Lottery players. The two year funding programme will allow Borderland Voices to research, document and present this intriguing piece of local history.
“It will tell the stories behind women who, by working in the rural economy, helped the country survive two world wars. It has already attracted interest from Leek High School and the Foxlowe Arts Centre, who will be joining in with our research and project exhibitions.
“We are also grateful that Councillor Charlotte Atkins, through the ‘People helping People’ fund, and Leek Arts Forum are providing some match funding.”
Land Girls and Lumber Jills, who worked for the Women’s Land Army or the Forestry Commission, were crucial in the effort to maintain food and timber supplies during the war years.