A DILIGENT volunteer has been commended for creating an ‘absolute jewel’ for the local community.

Val Bryant is stepping down as manager of Knutsford Heritage Centre, after devoting 17 years to the project.

In that time, her expert textile knowledge saved the Millennium Tapestry and saw the centre receive the Queens Award for Voluntary Service in 2018 – the equivalent of an MBE for charities.

“Looking back, I marvel at everything we have achieved together in bringing the centre to what it has become today - a unique visitor attraction,” said Val, who started volunteering in 2007 after a career at Quarry Bank Mill.

“I have loved every moment of all the things I have done for the centre.

“For me, our biggest achievement was when we won the Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service in 2018.

“I am immensely proud of that award.”

Just one more goal remains before she retires in May next year.

Val, who became volunteer manager in 2010, said: “I am currently in the process of applying for museum accreditation, which I hope we achieve before I leave.

“This would be the icing on the cake as we can then call the centre Knutsford Museum.”

Knutsford Heritage Centre was established in 1989 and is home to the Millennium Tapestry, May Queen crowns and a treasure trove of town memorabilia.

It is currently open three days a week from Thursday to Saturday and is run entirely by volunteers.

Chris Henretty, chairman of the board of trustees said “Without doubt Val has been an extraordinary volunteer who has achieved a great deal and has brought the Heritage Centre back to life, leaving it in a very strong position for her successor.

“We cannot thank her enough for her efforts over the past 17 years.

“She leaves an everlasting legacy including that of the Queens Award for Volunteers.

“We wish her and her husband David a healthy and happy retirement.”

The search is now on to find a new volunteer to take on the task of managing the Heritage Centre.

The role is approximately 20 hours per week and will work closely with volunteers and trustees to oversee all aspects of operations.

More information about the voluntary position can be found at knutsfordheritage.co.uk/manager.

Knutsford mayor Cllr Peter Coan said: “The Heritage Centre is an absolute jewel in Knutsford’s crown and does incredible work protecting and sharing the town’s history.

“Val has done an amazing job and deserves great thanks from the town.

“The hunt is now on for her successor, someone who can help ensure the continued success of our town’s Heritage Centre.”