READING Heritage Open Days (September 6-9) launched at the Museum of English Rural Life, in Reading, last night (Thursday, Aug 16) with jazz dancing, vintage hair dos and a buzz of excitement as representatives from the many and varied venues and events met.
It is the first time that Heritage Open Days in Reading, organised by Reading UK CIC, has held a launch and it was a huge success.
The Reading Chronicle is again sponsoring the celebration of the borough's past and present and archives of papers covering the Queen's Coronation in 1953 and the London 1948 Olympics were available to browse.
Sally Stevens, editor-in-chief of the Reading Chronicle and Berkshire Media Group explained how important it is to understand Reading's past for that we can prepare for its future.
She also announced a new competitive element with visitors able to vote for their favourite event or venue for the first time.
Sally said: "The Reading Chronicle has been recording Reading's heritage since 1825 and the Berkshire Mercury began in 1723.
The word CHRONICLE actually means 'An extended account of historical events'.
"Each week in the paper we look back at the news stories the Chronicle was covering 50 years ago and it is surprising how familiar the themes are. And it is by acknowledging and understanding our heritage and the ongoing connections with present day events that we can best prepare for the future - how the Chronicle will look when news gatherers 50 or 100 years in the future look back at the stories we cover today is a fascinating thought.
"Events like the Olympic Torch Relay show how much newspaper coverage contributes to the overall experience of significant events - recently we have been sharing the memories and photos of readers who witnessed the 1948 Olympic Flame come through Reading, even though many were very young at the time, the faded Chronicle cuttings have kept the experience alive.
"This year newspapers have again shared and recorded so many special, memorable moments and it is a privilege for all reporters and photographers to play a part in that - a privilege that should never be taken for granted or abused.
"That is why the Chronicle and Berkshire Media Group are delighted to again be part of Reading's Heritage Open Days, not only through reporting and photographing the fascinating venues and events, but also by sharing our archives on Friday, September 7. And for the first time this year visitors and fans of Reading far and wide can celebrate Reading's Heritage by voting for their favourite Heritage venue or event simply by liking it on the Reading Heritage Open days Facebook page.
"There will be a special plaque for the winners to proudly display and even a prize for one of the lucky voters - every voter will go into a draw to win an annual membership of the National Trust, a further chance to explore for free our wonderful heritage not just at National Trust properties in Berkshire but across the country. To vote for your favourite venue all you have to do is join the Reading Heritage Open days Facebook page and select the polling page. There will also be postal voting coupons in the Chronicle.
"So please encourage all your visitors, staff and more to cast their vote - they can vote for more than one venue and they can leave comments."