A BRIDGWATER-BASED charity has been given a substantial grant to help fund its project in memoriam of an 'enthusiastic chronicler of life' from near Bridgwater.

The National Lottery Heritage Fund awarded local charity Somerset Film and Video Ltd funds of £37,644 to help deliver a community archive film project called ‘A Village Apart, Villages Together’.

The project takes its name from the late C. S. John Sparkes' book, “Gie I Burtle - A Village Apart” published in 2001.

John was an 'enthusiastic chronicler of life' in Burtle and the surrounding Chilton Polden area, starting out in the 1970s and working through photography and 8mm film.

After his death, John's collection of over 300 films was entrusted to Bridgwater-based Somerset Film by his wife Valerie, with hopes to one day share it with the public.

Now a grant from the National Lottery the charity will work with the community to catalogue, digitise and celebrate the work of C. S, John Sparkes.

Creative Director Deb Richardson said: “John was passionate about the countryside, wildlife and where he lived and worked.

"He was an active contributor to village life and was much loved by his local community.

"His films first came to our attention when he donated a film he had made documenting local workers in the peat industry.

"We’re delighted to be looking after his collection and hope to find some similar treasures to share with the public.”

Somerset Film are keen to hear from anyone who would like to get involved to help catalogue and digitise the films.

Sessions will be held in Burtle, and at the Engine Room on the High Street in Bridgwater; the community media centre run by the charity.

It is hoped that the public archive film screenings allow audiences to help identify the individuals, events and places shown in the film.

The project will take over a year to complete, and will be published on YouTube in addition to the public screenings.