Delapre archaeology wellbeing sessions have given me 'purpose'

Delia Whitehouse
Delia Whitehouse said she was "so excited" to go along to Delapre Abbey to join in the archaeology sessions

A widow who attended an archaeology pilot scheme in Northamptonshire aimed at boosting mental health says she has been given a new "purpose".

Delia Whitehouse joined a six-week wellbeing scheme at Delapre Abbey.

She said after being on her own for 16 years she has now made new friends.

"I'm learning about the past but the future and the present day is me interacting with more people and sharing my love of the abbey," she said.

People taking part in an archaeology dig at Delapre Abbey
A trench, 1m by 1m (8inch) was dug and went down by about 20cm (39inches)

Mrs Whitehouse, who also volunteers at the Grade II listed country house and park, said she was "overjoyed to be invited to come and take part in this dig".

"As I'm a widow and I've lived on my own for 16 years, I'm very aware there are days when it's quite lonely," she said. "You can come down here and have a look around and suddenly Mondays have a purpose."

Items discovered during the Delapre Digs sessions
Floor tiles, pottery, animal bones and oyster shells were found during the digs

The pilot project, called Delapre Digs: Archaeology for Wellbeing, was led and funded by the Museum of London Archaeology (MOLA).

Eleanor Sier, head of engagement and interpretation at Delapre, said: "It's a really great way of creating a community but an opportunity to learn skills and notice things as well."

From 13:00 until 16:00 GMT on Sunday, members of the public are invited to find out about the project.

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