You may have seen Graham during your visit to Croome - one day he's driving the shuttle down the hill to the house, another helping in the office with administration or donning a high-vis vest and directing traffic in the car park on busy days. Read what he has to say about volunteering with the National Trust.
What inspired me to want to start volunteering with the National Trust?
In retirement, I needed local work that would involve frequent interaction with lots of people and where my skills could be put to good use in for a cause I believed in. Having Croome on my doorstep seemed too good a chance to miss.
What's the best part of Volunteering at Croome?
Being in at the relatively early stages of Croome’s development and watching the place grow.
What’s keeping me busy at the moment?
I am currently working my way through the vast collection of photographs taken by our volunteer photographers so that they can be found more easily by computer.
What's my favourite part of Croome?
The parkland. Having started as a shuttle driver, my first trip from the Visitor Centre to the house presented me with the most wonderful view of this Lancelot ‘Capability’ Brown landscape sweeping down before me and on up to the Malvern Hills. It’s a genuine showstopper regardless of how many times I have seen it and makes me feel happy to be alive.
What's my favourite story about Croome?
Michael Forster-Smith, Croome’s General Manager, told a great story about the condition of Croome in 1996 when the National Trust took over. The operation consisted of a portakabin, three staff and a catering facility which was a single vending machine. The park was in a very overgrown state and it’s wonderful to realise how far Croome has come since then.
What do I do when I’m not volunteering?
I intend to embark on some long haul trips to parts of the world which I have never visited. So it’s Costa Rica for starters with some white water rafting and zip wiring through the trees in a rainforest! Other planned trips include the West Coast of the USA and the Galapagos Islands.
I love football so I’m a regular visitor to Old Trafford to watch “The Reds”. My other great joy is going to middle aged rock concerts, Jeff Lynne’s ELO being the next one.
What advice would I give anyone thinking about volunteering with the National Trust?
Certainly look on the National Trust vacancies web site but do go and talk to the people at any property that interests you. Attend their Welcome Evenings, if they have them, and see what roles they have to offer. There is usually a large variety available. Decide whether you want regular work in the same role or whether flexibility suits you. Then “Go for It”. You won’t regret it.