Sarah, participating in IWM's We Were There programme
IWM

9 Questions...

  • Where do you call home?

    Home is Northern Ireland, but I have been living in London for the past 7 years.

  • What conflict(s) do you discuss when volunteering for We Were There?

    The Northern Ireland Troubles in the late 1990s.

  • How were you involved in that conflict?

    I can’t describe myself as someone who lived through the Northern Irish Troubles that my parents and family witnessed as I was born in 1990. But I was part of something that I shouldn't have been born into. The effects of the Troubles are ingrained in the culture. Especially in schools and all the sectarian divides. I was 8 years old when the Good Friday Agreement was signed. This was to bring peace to Northern Ireland.

  • How long have you been volunteering for WWT?

    Since October 2018.

  • What do you enjoy most about participating in WWT?

    I love it. It’s a surreal experience. I get to hang out with eyewitnesses from the Second World War and also share my personal story about a conflict that not many people know about as it’s so raw. This makes it really unique. I share my story and I feel understood. People love asking questions, and taking part in the We Were There programme has given me so much confidence. We Were There is like a family and we all support each other. Every session is different, and every conversation is different which makes it great.

  • Tell us your favourite moment so far during the sessions?

    When I share my story it’s based on my school experience which wasn't particularly great. I share with the kids that I was bullied and how reading the Harry Potter books was one of the things that distracted me and helped. There was once a girl who said that she wasn't enjoying school either and hearing my story had helped her. She told me she was going to speak to her teacher about how she was feeling and that Harry Potter is incredible. This is my favourite moment, because I was relatable and my story had an impact.

  • What’s your favourite object in IWM’s collections and why?

    It’s going to have to be the V2 Rocket. It has so many things linked to its story, especially the Holocaust which is a big interest of mine. It’s got the wow factor when you enter IWM London.

  • What do you like to do in your spare time?

    I enjoy exploring stately homes, walks, eating Thai food and playing guitar. I’m also a full-time youth worker.

  • What is your favourite biscuit?

    Jam ‘n’ cream – there’s no right or wrong way to eat them!

Volunteers help bring to life the stories of our collections. Find out more.

Discover More

Britain And The Commonwealth Since 1945
20 Photos of The Troubles
Explore the history of The Troubles through 20 photographs selected from our collection.
Contemporary conflict
What You Need to Know About The Troubles
The Troubles was a period of conflict in Northern Ireland that lasted from the late 1960s until the Good Friday Agreement in 1998. Find out more about key moments in this conflict - a conflict with repercussions that are still being felt today. 
Terri Hooley, Rebel Sounds
Terri Hooley © Pacemaker Press Internationa
Contemporary conflict
Rebel Sounds: Terri Hooley
The story behind Terri Hooley, a music fan who risked his life by opening a record shop in 1970s Belfast during the Troubles.

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A Balloon Site, Coventry
© IWM (ART LD 2750)
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