Hunter helps tell Sellafield’s story

Acclaimed author Hunter Davies is to play a key role in telling the story of the Sellafield nuclear plant.

He has agreed to edit a book featuring the memories of current and ex-nuclear workers and others as part of a large scale oral history project.

The oral archive and book is just one of several legacy projects funded by British Nuclear Fuels Ltd as it marks its departure from the local scene after almost 40 years.

BNFL owned the shares in site operating company Sellafield Ltd before their transfer into the private sector in the shape of Nuclear Management Partners in November, 2008.

Hunter, who was brought up in Carlisle and still maintains a home base in the Lake District, visited the site recently for a familiarisation and fact finding trip.

He was accompanied by Jenni Lister, Local Studies Librarian at Whitehaven Records Office, who is leading the BNFL Oral History project.

Around 100 people, including current and ex-workers and members of the public, will be interviewed by Jenni and her team. Their contributions will be recorded and form the basis of an oral archive to be stored locally.

The project will also see the compilation of a CD and/or DVD, a travelling exhibition, an education pack for schools and a website featuring sound clips as well as the book edited by Hunter.

His accomplishments include top selling and award-winning books such as Here We Go Round The Mulberry Bush, The Glory Game and the only authorised biography of the Beatles as well subsequent biographies of figures such as Paul Gascoigne, Wayne Rooney and John Prescott.

Hunter said: “I am very excited because apparently the project is the largest oral history project ever undertaken in the UK — about what is still one of the biggest single industrial sites in the whole of Britain.

“It has had a huge effect on the people of West Cumbria, as we all know. The object is not to take sides on any of the political issues — just record the views and experiences of West Cumbrians, who have worked or been affected by Sellafield over the last sixty years.

“This is its social and economic history, mainly told by ordinary people. Their voices will now be heard for ever. ”

Jenni Lister added: “We’re delighted with the progress we’ve made with the recordings – we’ve captured a good range of experiences and opinions, and some wonderful stories.

“The website will be available soon and we are already starting to plan the exhibition that will be visiting all sorts of venues in our area.”

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