Left: William Snow, Wiltshire County Council's deputy cabinet member for education and libraries, presents Peggy Gye with her award.
With nominations made and votes counted all that was left was to tear open the golden envelope and announce the winner of the Wiltshire Museum Volunteer of the Year Award 2002.
At a ceremony held at the Old School Room in Market Lavington, Wiltshire, 81-year-old voluntary curator Peggy Gye scooped the award for her 18 years of dedication to the Market Lavington Museum, an institution she helped set up in 1984.
"It is wonderful that the efforts of volunteers working in museums throughout Wiltshire have been recognised," said Peggy. "Market Lavington Museum is run entirely by volunteers and currently has around 40 from all walks of life."
Right: ever since playing a central role in the setting up of Market Lavington Museum, Peggy has devoted her time to it.
Peggy has lived in Market Lavington all her life and has used her encyclopaedic knowledge of its history to write a book about it and give talks at local schools. In fact, she discovered and donated many of the museum's treasured artefacts herself.
Putting the 81-year-old forward for the award, the Market Lavington Museum committee members said in a statement: "Peggy continues to be the inspiration behind the museum and the centre of all its activities and we feel that her work over the past 18 years deserves recognition."
Nominations were invited from the 18 museums and galleries supported by Wiltshire County Council, the winner being chosen by officials involved in heritage and education.
Left: a lifetime resident of Market Lavington, Peggy is an authority on the village's history.
To give some idea of the invaluable work performed by unpaid volunteers in the UK cultural sector, the hundreds of volunteers working in museums in Wiltshire alone put in an incredible 17,380 hours last year.
"This award recognises the dedication and hard work of volunteers in Wiltshire's museums," explained Louisa Burden, Wiltshire County Council's conservation and museums manager.
"The larger museums in the county have significant support from volunteers and most of the small community museums across the county are run solely by volunteers. By safeguarding these important collections, they provide people with an inspiring insight into the past and ensure Wiltshire's heritage is kept alive."
As well as Peggy's award, Market Lavington Museum is to receive £200 from Wiltshire County Council to support the work of its volunteers.