By Matt Horsfield, EACH Volunteer
I have been volunteering for the EACH Project since August 2009. The crowning moment so far has been our display at St George’s Church in Enham Alamein, to commemorate those who fought and lost their lives in the Battle of El Alamein in 1942. I hope to enter into museums as a career so this opportunity provided me with invaluable insight and experience of exhibition work.
We started the preparation two months in advance. My first job was to give ‘Monty’ (nickname for Field Marshal Montgomery) a bath – not the real one, mind, but a plaster bust which was in need of a good clean before a couple of chips could be repaired.
The next task was preparing the display boards on which the history of Enham would unfold. I was tasked with the selection, scanning and printing of images. Then came the messy part of cutting the text and pictures to size, and spray-mounting them onto foamboard panels. This turned out to be rather reminiscent of art class, as we adjusted the layout to make them as aesthetically pleasing as possible. We also had to fix the artefacts into display cases, being very careful to give them full support. Before we knew it, the weekend of the display was upon us and with everything mounted and packed for transport, we were ready.
On Saturday morning prior to Alamein Sunday, armed with trusty power tools, we set up the display at St George’s Church. By early afternoon, after copious cups of tea, we had everything in place and could stand back and admire our handiwork.
On Alamein Day itself, the public gathered to commemorate a momentous period in our island’s history. The small church was soon full of people; from Alamein veterans to young children, everybody was enjoying the informative display. It was truly a proud day for the Project and those of us who had dedicated our time and hard work. Inevitably, the event drew to a close and we had to dismantle the display and repack all the artefacts. It was a shame that we had only had that day to tell the remarkable story of Enham. However, hopefully we will one day see the opening of a permanent museum in Enham Alamein and a worthy tribute to an historical village.