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National Trust launch Treasure Forever campaign

PUBLISHED: 16:01 24 November 2011 | UPDATED: 16:13 20 February 2013

The National Trust's Treasure Forever: So what will you choose as your favourite keepsake (Photo NTPL - Paul Harris)

The National Trust's Treasure Forever: So what will you choose as your favourite keepsake (Photo NTPL - Paul Harris)

In this month's column, National Trust conservator for the south Ylva Dahnsjo tells us about an exciting new competition

Originally published in Surrey Life magazine September 2009

National Trust conservator for the south Ylva Dahnsjo tells us about an exciting new competition

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The National Trust's historic properties are well known for their collections of intriguing objects and the stories behind them. Now we want you, the public, to share the stories behind your own favourite keepsakes through a national competition that starts at the beginning of September.

Called Treasure Forever, all you have to do is enter a photograph of your favourite object together with the story behind it. A winner from 11 different regions, including the South East, will be chosen and their object and story displayed at a property in their local area during spring 2010. The competition will be judged by a selected panel, but you will also be able to help choose the winners by voting on the competition's interactive website.

Everyone's stories tell an important part of our heritage and this competition is a great way for the public to share the tales behind their favourite things. It's all about highlighting everyday objects that mean something special to you, rather than antiques or heirlooms of high monetary value.

My own personal treasure is a laundry beater, one of my grandmother's tools that she used for bashing washing. The story behind it is that on March 13, 1931, she went to the lake near her home in Sweden and broke the ice to rinse some clothes. However, she was also seven months pregnant, so not such a brilliant idea, you might say. My father was born that evening. He was so small that he didn't start breathing, but a clever midwife managed to save his life so that he could stay in this world and become my dad!

As part of Treasure Forever, Polesden Lacey in Great Bookham, Hatchlands Park in East Clandon and Clandon Park in West Clandon will all be hosting special events throughout the autumn to allow staff and volunteers to share the stories of objects in the collections and how they look after them. There will also be handy take-home cards for visitors about caring for their own items, plus talks, demonstrations and trails for children to bring all kinds of treasures to life.

So, to enter the Treasure Forever competition, which closes on Sunday November 1, 2009, and for details of special events at properties near you, visit

National Trust staff share their favourite things from the property where they work

Tracey Parker, conservation assistant, Polesden Lacey, Great Bookham, near Dorking

"Two little Pekinese dogs by Cartier, with tiny ruby eyes, that were given to Mrs Greville, the previous owner of Polesden Lacey, by some of her guests. Mrs Greville loved dogs; she had 17 in total - there are pictures of them all around the house and even a little dog cemetery in the grounds. The thing I most like about these Cartier dogs, though, is that the guests must have put a lot of thought into what to give her - how lovely."

Catherine Sidwell, volunteer, Clandon Park, West Clandon

"A painting by Leendert (Leonard) Knyff from 1708, which shows a view from above Clandon, well before the time of hot air balloons, aeroplanes or satellites. Looking at this painting for me is like peering into a rock pool, into another miniature world below. There is so much detail and activity, as people go about their day, whether land owner, employee, visitor or guest, unaware of onlookers, 300 years later!"

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