Volunteer profile: meet Martin Sizeland

a man in a blue shirt wearing sunglasses with his arm around a brown springer spaniel dog

Martin joined our Visitor Welcome team at Morston Quay in April 2018 after retiring from a career in the construction industry; here is his story.

Name: Martin Sizeland

Career background: I worked in the Construction Industry for 40 years and spent most of that time working in East Anglia. I spent the last 14 years as a Regional Director for Travis Perkins Plc and was responsible for the branches in Norfolk, Suffolk and parts of Cambridgshire. One of my key roles was talking to colleagues, customers and suppliers so have always enjoyed meeting people.

How long have you volunteered with the National Trust? I have been volunteering for 14 months.

Volunteer role(s): My main role as a volunteer is welcoming visitors to Morston Quay.

Sunset over the Morston Quay Information Centre
sunset at morston quay with the black information centre in the foreground
Sunset over the Morston Quay Information Centre

What do you get up to as a volunteer? This role is very varied (which is why I love it). It predominately means that all visitors, members and non-members get welcomed to Morston Quay and I advise them on seal trips, local walks, best pubs to have a meal at and a lot more. As I have always lived in this part of the world and walked a lots of the paths I can pass on lots of local bits of knowledge. The less glamourous side of volunteering is keeping the site nice and clean for our visitors, so sweeping up and litter picking are all part of the role. In conversation with members I encourage them to scan their cards and explain the reasons for this relatively new procedure, and also explain any questions they have about the National Trust. With non-members I try to explain the benefits of being a member and as I have been a member for over 30 years I can relate to young families as well as older people and encourage them to join up. It does give me huge pleasure when a visitor signs up and they walk away with at least a year of adventures ahead of them.

Volunteer Martin Sizeland assisting with the construction of tern hides
a man in grey bending over a wooden box he is drilling
Volunteer Martin Sizeland assisting with the construction of tern hides

Why did you start volunteering with the National Trust? When I was working I always planned that when I retired I would volunteer with the National Trust as I felt I would then have more time.

What do you enjoy most about volunteering with the National Trust? I love volunteering as its all the wonderful and different people I meet on every session. A volunteer session does not go by when I have not learnt something new or met some of the most friendliest visitors. Most visitors to Morston fall under its wonderful spell and lots come back time and time again.

Sunset at Morston Quay
red and black streaks of a sunset over water
Sunset at Morston Quay

Most special volunteering moment: For me one of most special moments was myself and Carl, one of our rangers, took 14 visitors out to Blakeney point on a seal trip boat, where we met the resident rangers and walked into the reserve to see the new born Grey Seal pups , their mothers and of course all the male bull seals on the beach. Being able to talk to the visitors about the Point and the record numbers of seals over the last few years was great.

Favourite National Trust place and why: I think it is very hard to pick just one favourite National Trust Place. The Coast at Cornwall is just stunning, Blickling Park is magical at all times of the year, but Stiffkey Marshes does take a lot of beating.

Martin Sizeland, 3 June 2019

A purple summer carpet of Sea Lavender at Stiffkey
a purple carpet of sea lavender under a grey sky
A purple summer carpet of Sea Lavender at Stiffkey