Global award for Wymondham museum man

A south Norfolk man who has dedicated almost 50 years to supporting museums in Norwich and around the world has been recognised for his service.

David Mawson, travelled to Copenhagen, Denmark, last week to be presented with a Certificate of Merit from the World Federation of Friends of Museums (WFFM).

The retired architect, of Suton Lane, Wymondham, became only the second person ever to receive the award and now holds the title of Pr�sident Honoraire of the federation.

Mr Mawson was the founder president of the international organisation between 1975 and 1981 and he still attends its meetings, which have taken him from Sydney, Australia, to Paris, France.

In 2009 he also served as chairman of its election committee of the presidency.

On receiving the certificate, Mr Mawson said: 'I was delighted and honoured. It's the second one they have ever given.'

He added: 'I have always done it for enjoyment. You do not take on voluntary work unless you enjoy it and the Friends locally, nationally and internationally are doing a very worthwhile job in helping to raise the profile of museums.'

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Mr Mawson took on the role of secretary of Friends of the Norwich Museums (FNM) in about 1965, which helps fundraise and provides volunteers for some of the city's most popular attractions, including Norwich Castle and The Bridewell.

In 1972 he was invited to an exploratory meeting in Barcelona, Spain, to talk about the setting up of the WFFM, which led to him becoming its first president.

In 1973 he also became the founding president of the British Association of Friends of Museums (BAFM), which now has more than 400 members across the country.

Today he remains vice-president of the FNM and the BAFM.

His services to the nation's museums were also recognised in 1990 when he became an OBE.

Mr Mawson spent his professional life as an architect and is a retired partner in the firm Feilden and Mawson, which has offices in Norwich, Cambridge, London and Prague.

His occupation, which involved undertaking structural repairs of gothic and classic buildings, and his interest in how objects were displayed led to his work with museums.

Mr Mawson is also the vice president of the Norfolk branch of the Campaign to Protect Rural England (CPRE), is a director of the Norfolk Historic Buildings Trust, founded the Norfolk Gardens Trust in 1988 and is an active member of Norfolk ProHelp.