The Friends of Czech Heritage
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People Working Hard to Restore Our Culture
During the Communist controlled era, many of the Czech Republic’s finest palaces, castles, chateaus, gardens and parks were either destroyed or simply left to decay. Previous owners stripped of their rights of ownership, new owners with no money and no intention of spending any time to keep the places in repair. Post 1990 there are many Czech groups that collect money for reparation and renovation works of historic sites and in general promote Czech heritage but this page looks at one group who are not based in Czech. They are an English charity.
I have to be honest and say that I had not heard of this charity until it was recognised in the new UK “Points of Light” awards to people who are changing their community and inspiring others. To be accurate, one person was recognised and her name was Barbara Peacock.
Barbara Peacock, an architectural historian, had been visiting Prague for many years witnessing the poor state of many of our national heritage sites until in 2007 she co-founded the Friends of Czech Heritage. Simply it raises money and organises resources including working holidays to help Czech architectural treasures at risk. The charity has worked on more than twenty reconstruction projects in the Czech Republic and has more planned. From Castle to paintings, no job too big or too small. It’s just a case of applying your will, identifying the need and getting on with fulfilling what is required to restore an item of national significance.
The charity organises groups of both skilled and unskilled volunteers to come to Czech and work with local partners in order to carry out a lot of the work. The fact that Barbara Peacock has chosen the Czech Republic for her good work should inspire us all to look outside our own borders.
In her own words of acceptance:
The Czech Republic is a small country with an outstandingly rich architectural and artistic heritage that was seriously endangered after years of post-war neglect. The determination of the Czechs to restore their patrimony despite a severe shortage of funds inspired the creation of the British charity The Friends of Czech Heritage. I am thrilled and honoured to receive this award from the Prime Minister and to accept it on behalf of all those who have worked so hard to raise funds and instigate many restoration projects, thereby bringing a wider recognition of the Czech cultural heritage.
If you want to get involved then details are on the The Friends of Czech Heritage website. If you want to be even more inspired then take a look at other winners and their stories at Points of Light Awards.
Photo Credits: Main Graphic, Cerveny Dvur Palace, ckrumlov.info. Barbara Peacock photo from pointsoflight.gov.uk