Award for Biggar museum’s ‘staggering’ fundraising

Trust chairman James Dawnay, Jennifer Court and awards host comedian Marcus Brigstocke (Pic by Simon Callaghan)
Trust chairman James Dawnay, Jennifer Court and awards host comedian Marcus Brigstocke (Pic by Simon Callaghan)

The group behind Biggar and Upper Clydesdale Museum have been voted UK Fundraisers of the Year at the Museums and Heritage Awards for Excellence 2016.

“We are delighted to receive this from such a prestigious national award show,” said Jennifer Court, manager of the new museum on Biggar High Street.

“This and the other awards we have received over the last year reflect the quality of the museum and we hope this will encourage even more visitors to come.”

Biggar Museum Trust’s aim was to create a new museum on a single central site to house the best of its collections in a building meeting modern museum standards.

The new building, opened by Princess Anne last year, replaces its three museums at Gladstone Court, Moat Park Heritage Centre and Greenhill Covenanter’s House.

It brings together the collections previously housed in inaccessible, inefficient buildings, which had become unfit for modern purpose.

But it took huge community support and an ‘outstanding voluntary effort’, to see the £2.5 million project completed on July 28 2015.

“The creativity and originality of the Biggar community’s fundraising was staggering,” said the awards citation.

“Thousands pulled together in a huge number of events and activities in order to raise the necessary funds for the museum project.”

These events included cinema evenings, sponsored walks, an ‘Antiques Roadshow’, garage sales, restaurants’ ‘Afternoon of Entertainment’, lectures, talks and plays, local bingo winners donating money, collection cans in every shop, dinners at Symington House and many more.

“It is a source of particular pride to the Trust that the greatest single contribution to this community project, £731,000, came from the community itself - contributions large and small from the people of Biggar and rural Upper Clydesdale. This illustrates the sheer range and number of community members who believed in the project and were willing to donate not only their money but their time.”

The award is the latest won by the museum since opening 10 months ago. It won the Enterprising Museum Award at the The Arts and Business Awards Scotland, and received 5 Star Visitor Attraction Award by VisitScotland and Silver Award from Green Tourism.