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Super Senior Margaret Koppens Speaks

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I am 76 years old and I have lived in Bolton all my life, I have two daughters and five grandchildren.

With a lifetime’s love of history I joined Halliwell Local History Society 30 years ago and have enjoyed every minute of the time since then. I have been Secretary for the past 25+ years and since I retired this has filled my time. Over the past 10 years a colleague and I have catalogued our vast collection of photographs (2500+), maps, artefacts and books and these are now on a searchable database. I deal with enquiries via our website and by telephone and spend one day a week at Smithills Hall where our collection is stored and one morning at our newly opened Heritage Centre within All Souls. I take the minutes at our committee meetings and circulate information by email; I also book the speakers for our monthly meetings, and edit our very popular bi-monthly magazine ‘The Little Piecer’.
Again with my love of history I helped to form the Friends of Smithills Hall 27 years ago and have been committee member, Chairman and now Secretary, again taking minutes at the monthly meetings and helping at various events which take place at the Hall.

For the past 3+ years I have been a volunteer at Bolton History Centre working with Julie Lamara and another volunteer on Bolton’s First World War project. The aim is to locate and photograph War Memorials in Bolton with the information on them used to feed into a data-base of all the men from Bolton who served and died in both World Wars. This has been most enjoyable, researching the archives to find mention of memorials and to track them down and along the way I have learned new skills. We found many interesting stories during our research and we wrote ‘blogs’ which were put on to the GM14 website, with some of them being included in a book.
Alongside this I have helped two other volunteers to research Bolton Women’s roll in WW1, particularly the Women’s Peace Crusade in Lancashire. Unfortunately unlike other towns, very little is documented about this in Bolton although two inspirational women, namely Sarah Reddish and Mary Haslam were involved, along with others in crusading for peace. However the information that was found has again been included in a recent publication and in March a film made about the Women’s Peace Crusade will be shown at Bolton Central Library where the book will be on sale.

For the past four years I have been a reader for News-talk, the talking newspaper for the blind. Spending about one hour on an occasional Sunday afternoon reading articles from the Bolton News, something I have found very interesting, enjoyable and worthwhile.
For the past year I have been an Ambassador for Ambition for Ageing with meetings held at Bolton CVS and have helped at coffee mornings around the Borough.
When I can I occasionally ‘rattle a tin’ in the local supermarket for Marie Curie or Bolton Hospice.

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