Founder of Wirksworth's National Stone Centre gets prestigious geology award

The founding director of Wirksworth’s National Stone Centre (NSC) has been honoured with a prestigious award from the world’s oldest national geological society in recognition of his outstanding contribution to the field.

By Ed Dingwall
Thursday, 21st April 2022, 11:44 am

The Geological Society of London, which dates back to 1807, has selected Ian Thomas as the 26th recipient of its distinguished service award.

Ian, who is now retired, said: “Naturally, I am personally absolutely delighted to learn of the society’s decision to honour me, but in a broader sense, I see it as an endorsement of all we have achieved and are planning to do at the National Stone Centre, by enhancing geological interests nationally.

“It comes after the national award acknowledging our work in industrial history and sits harmoniously with our Institute of Quarrying engagement activities.”

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Ian Thomas, founding director of the National Stone Centre in Wirksworth. (Photo Steve Adam/Agg-Net)

Established in 1998, the award recognises an individual who has made significant contributions to geoscience and the geoscience community by virtue of their professional, administrative, organisational or promotional activities.

The official announcement was revealed in the society’s journal Geoscientist ahead of avirtual ceremony on June 8 broadcast from its London headquarters.

Ruth Allington, an NSC trustee and president-designate of the geological society, said: “It’s wonderful that Ian has been recognised for his lifelong dedication to the science of geology by his peers through this award.

“His passion for the subject is inspiring and without it we wouldn’t have the facilities at the NSC there to spark that passion in the next generation.”

Ian devised the initial concept for the NSC in 1980, as a place to tell ‘the story of stone’, its origins, operation, and how it supports us all.

Today volunteers at the charity’s discovery centre, on Porter Lane, welcome visitors from all over the world and run a wide range of educational courses and other services.

The NSC recently merged with the Institute of Quarrying, an international professional body with over 5,000 members which is now in the process of relocating its headquarters to the site with grand ambitions to turn it into a top-class visitor experience.

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