Meet Ruth

Bookshop volunteer, Blickling Estate

Ruth Harrison - Bookshop volunteer

Having worked for the National Trust in the past, on retirement Ruth decided to return to Blickling in a different capacity, this time volunteering in the bookshop. Ruth explains more about her role and what it entails.

A volunteer in the bookshop putting books on a shelf

Why did you decide to volunteer for the National Trust?

Having worked at Blickling as Secretary to the Managing Agent in the 1980s and then at the Sainsbury Centre for Visual Arts, I thought I would like to come back in a different capacity as a volunteer in my retirement.

What sort of work are you doing for the Trust?

I have now been volunteering for ten years or so, initially leading walks in the parkland, and then when they ceased I thought the bookshop would be a good place to work.

Recently the park walks have started again, so I'm back helping to lead these at weekends, which I'm really enjoying.  The walks are every Sunday at 2pm and we take visitors up to the Mausoleum, where they're able to have a look inside.

Tell us more about your work…

Volunteers in the bookshop can choose a subject they're interested in, or, like me, a variety of subjects. Mine include poetry, geography, agriculture, environment and anthropology.

We then sort these books when they arrive in the shop, put them out on the shelves and many of us take turns on the till.  Other volunteers prefer to spend their time just sorting books or working on the till, so the work is very flexible depending on what you like doing. 

It's wonderful to see the amazing collections our visitors generously donate, we're always very grateful to anyone who offers them to us.

What are you enjoying the most?

I really enjoy meeting people and talking about books.  It's very rewarding, particularly when we help someone find a book that they've been looking for, for a long time.

What do you do in your free time?

I like doing sudoku and reading, but I also volunteer with Aylsham Care Trust and the Talking Newspaper, reading news for people with sight problems, blind and partially sighted.

" If I was to offer any advice for people thinking about volunteering, I'd say, find something you really enjoy doing."
- Ruth, Bookshop volunteer