THE future looks bright for a group studying the history of their town.
Middlewich Heritage Society now boasts 60 members and its success can be put down to the fact that it is not engaged in some dry pursuit, but is profiling the development of a town through the activities and achievements of its past residents.
'I think our heritage is important because it gives people a sense of community,' said member Mike Walton, of Wheelock Street, whose wife Sylvia is vice-chairwoman of the society.
Though Mike is not native to Middlewich, having moved to the area 30 years ago, the 62-year-old certainly feels connected through his work researching the town's past.
TheSocietyis currentlyundertakinganextensive programme of research the likes of which has not been seen before in its 21 years of existence, and Mike is keen to make people aware of its value.
'Research is always interesting,' he said. 'For example, while researching Victorian and early 20th Century history you find a lot of names cropping up that still relate to people and businesses in the town. It makes people feel a part of the town and lets them see how they fit into it.'
Among the projects that the Society hopes to undertake are the recording of gravestones and monuments in Middlewich cemetery, transcribing St Michael and All Angels Church parish register and 19th Century census records and more active pursuits such as tracing the route of the Roman road from the town to Chester.
Members also want to initiate an oral archive to record the memories of residents.
Mike said: 'It's important to record the memories of the people of Middlewich when they can still talk about it. We have a very good archive relating to the First World War but not so much for the Second World War so we want to talk to people who were living in Middlewich during then.'
As the Society's archive grows, Mike hopes the group grows with it. In particular, he would like to see younger people joining.
'Our members in the main are aged 50 and over and that's a concern - we've got to be attracting younger members,' he said.