National Trust U-turn over LGBTQ badges for volunteers


The lanyardImage copyright
National Trust

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Volunteers at Felbrigg Hall in Norfolk were asked to wear rainbow-coloured badges and lanyards to pledge support for an LGBTQ campaign

The National Trust has reversed a decision to make some volunteers work away from the public after they refused to wear sexual equality symbols.

Volunteers at Felbrigg Hall in Norfolk were asked to wear rainbow-coloured badges and lanyards in support of an LGBTQ campaign.

But 30 of the 350 workers were offered duties away from the public after “feeling uncomfortable” wearing them.

In a statement, the trust said it would now be an “optional” decision.

A spokesman also confirmed that all volunteers could resume their public-facing roles and it was “business as usual”.

Some volunteers were offered duties away from the public after they declined to wear the symbols.

The row was sparked following the National Trust’s Prejudice and Pride campaign to mark the 50th anniversary of homosexuality being decriminalised.

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National Trust Images/Andrew Butler

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Robert Wyndham Ketton-Cremer left his ancestral home to the nation upon his death in 1969

A new film revealed Felbrigg’s last lord, Robert Wyndham Ketton-Cremer, was gay, which was known by close friends.

Initially the trust defended its decision and Annabel Smith, head of volunteering and participation development, said: “All of our staff and volunteers sign up to our founding principles when they join us – we are an organisation that is for ever, for everyone.”

However, the National Trust released a statement on Saturday announcing its U-turn.

“We are aware some volunteers had conflicting, personal opinions about wearing the rainbow lanyards and badges,” it said.

“That was never our intention.

“We are therefore making it clear to volunteers that the wearing of the badge is optional and a personal decision.”

Image copyright
National Trust

Image caption

A new film said Felbrigg’s last lord, Robert Wyndham Ketton-Cremer, was gay

The U-turn followed a letter from the trust’s director general, Dame Helen Ghosh, published in The Telegraph on Saturday.

It appeared to back the organisation’s original decision to let workers be “free to step back from the volunteer role or take a different role for the duration” of the Pride and Prejudice exhibition at Felbrigg.



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