World Heritage Day 2023 - Catching up with our Volunteers

"What you leave behind is not what is engraved in stone monuments, but is woven into the lives of others. Monuments have lives woven into them." - Pericles                                                                                                                                                                                                              

This is true for Gibraltar's rich Heritage. We are surrounded by history, the past and the lives of those who have gone before us. Let's preserve and conserve these sites for future generations to understand their importance. This year on World Heritage Day we caught up with our volunteers at Witham's Cemetery to ask them why heritage is important in Gibraltar and important to them.

"I think heritage should be cared for and known about. From an artistic point of view it (heritage) has inspired my paintings...of places which have now disappeared." - Lorriane Buhagiar. 

Lorraine has been volunteering at Witham's Cemetery for a few years with an interest in gardening and experimenting with wood. The project offers her a place to escape to and meet like minded people.

Why did you get involved in Witham's Restoration project?

"Witham's was in need of care and had been abandoned for many years. It's a pity to let it go as it was."

What do you hope for the future of heritage in Gibraltar?

"The Heritage Trust is doing as much as they can, there's lots of ideas. There are financial restrictions and need of manpower but it should not stop, it should carry on, if not here, somewhere else and get the younger generation to join in." - Louis Lopez, Volunteer at Witham's Cemetery

Louis has been part of the team at Witham's Cemetery since the project started 7 years ago. He has worked on repaving the paths and cleaning up the graves, discovering the stories about the people buried there.

Why is it important to get involved in Gibraltar's Heritage?

"It's part of our history and there are many local treasures which can't be lost. We've been working quite a lot at Witham's Cemetery but it has been very rewarding to see the changes throughout the years." - James Russo, Volunteer at Witham's Cemetery.

James has been volunteering here since the restoration project began in 2015. He hopes that in the future people will be more aware of the Heritage which surrounds us.

Why is it important to value our heritage?

'Without your roots you don't know where you come from or where you're going. I think preserving our visible and cultural heritage roots establishes the base to know who you are as a Gibraltarian.' - Dr. Keith Farrell, Project leader at Witham's Cemetery and current Vice Chairman.

Keith Farrell had been leading the restoration project at Witham's Cemetery since it began in 2015 and has been a Trustee for the past 11 years, holding the position of Chairman and Vice Chairman in different terms. His interest in history grew from a young age but his enthusiam for heritage really took off when he moved into his 18th century home and began to learn about its history. He believes that significant progress has been made in Witham's and other sites alike, but he hopes with better coordianation between the heritage entities in Gibraltar, we will be able to enrich our built heritage and highlight its importance on a local and global stage. 

Catch up on Radio Gibraltar today where our CEO Claire Montado joined Jonathan Scott to reflect on World Heritage Day! Listen here: