Dr Keith Lawrence, a former Stapeley Parish Council member, was announced as the winner of the prestigious Dutton Prize at the recent Annual General Meeting of Nantwich Museum Members. The prize includes a medal endowed by medal-maker Ron Dutton in memory of his parents Alderman and Mrs Dutton and features an image of the church as a symbol of the town and its community. Since 1990 the Museum Board has nominated for the prize unsung heroes regarded as making an extraordinary contribution to the life of the town.
Dr Lawrence was twice a member of Stapeley Parish Council, on the first occasion, as Chairman, he represented the local parish councils on the Nantwich Local Area Partnership and executive committee of Cheshire Association of Local Councils (ChALC). For several years he worked with the Nantwich Food Festival with responsibility for co-ordinating the Volunteer Marshalls. Currently he is a managing Trustee of the Wybunbury United Charities, and for the last 12 years has been an OXFAM volunteer developing the music sales in conjunction with his wife Joyce.
At the Museum he has contributed to the development of exhibitions about the Civil War in this locality, Turnpike Roads around Nantwich, the 1851 Board of Health Map and associated Cholera epidemic, and yearly exhibitions coinciding with Holly Holy Day, also representing the Museum on the Holly Holy Day Organising Committee. He is an active member of the Museum’s Research Group, working with it to develop a new permanent exhibition on the Civil War in Cheshire, and is currently Chairman of the Cheshire Civil War Centre at the Museum. During the last five years and working with a number of authors and editors he has developed a series of booklets on the history of Nantwich, the range of which is now approaching 100. Keith has also run courses at the Museum on the English Civil War in Cheshire and still writes articles and lectures on a wide range of subjects.
The Museum’s Research Group has now re-convened for live, as opposed to online meetings following what Chair of the Board of Trustees, Trevor Evans, noted had been “a year like no other” as he acknowledged at the AGM the work of staff and volunteers to keep the Museum running during the pandemic. Other groups which have re-convened include the Dementia Friendship Group, Collections Group, and Craft Group. The Museum is now looking forward to the “Skoolsfest” exhibition during the forthcoming school half term celebrating pupils work from the schools of the Nantwich Education Partnership to be followed by “A Celebration of Stitch” by local textile artists Connected Threads.