There are stories about Christmas heartbreak, festive laughter and even one about a man who thought his wife would be delighted with a gift of a new spade. There are memories of walking talking dolls and wind up trains. The tales are of toys and times now consigned to the past, but a collaboration between Volunteer Now and Libraries NI has seen them brought to life as part of a special exhibition.
The creative collaboration has produced a fascinating catalogue of very Derry Christmas memories.
The initiative came about when Derry based volunteers spent time listening to the recollections of local people .With the help of staff from the Central Library, the stories were then written down and are now on display at the Foyle Street building.
Fidelma Glass, Communications Manager with Volunteer Now, said the display of stories and pictures was a very visual example of the benefits of volunteering.
“This is part of our Christmas Connections project where we encourage people to give a little time and make a big difference,” says Fidelma.
“Gathering these stories is just one example of the kind of thing people can do. Our volunteer who compiled these pieces is recently retired and she’s been out talking to people about Christmas to put together this display so it’s a chance for us to get the volunteering message out there.
“We have people standing at the end of checkouts collecting for charity and people of all ages doing all sorts of things with their spare time in their local communities. It’s really important that people realise that there’s something to suit everyone, from collecting stories to collecting litter on the beach!”
Patricia McAdams, Branch Manager at Central Library, said the stories on display would be a big hit with library visitors.
“It’s lovely to have a focus on reminiscence around this time of year and members of our Creative Writing Group here in the library have also contributed stories. We’ve put the stories on display with pictures of some of the old toys people might remember and a collection of photographs from the the library’s Bigger and McDonald collection so we think the exhibition will be a real talking point with people who remember very Christmas from a different Derry.”
To find out more about volunteer NI and how you can get involved call 02890 232020 and contact Derry’s Central Library at 7127 2310