Volunteer Larry Freeman
What inspired me to want to start volunteering with the National Trust? Like many people, having retired from a very busy life of full time employment, I felt the need to continue being active and, importantly, continue to try to make a meaningful contribution to society. Having been a National Trust member for many years and also having the good fortune of living very close to Croome, it seemed the ideal opportunity do some useful volunteering.
What's the best part of Volunteering at Croome?
I was lucky enough to have become a volunteer at Croome at the beginning of our five year programme of change called ‘Croome Redefined’. The challenges presented by the programme meant that there has always been something new and challenging to get the old teeth into. ‘Never a dull moment’ has been the order of the day and the continuation of that approach linked to the menu of new volunteering opportunities arising from the programme has made for a highly enjoyable and invigorating volunteering experience.
What’s keeping me busy at the moment?
During my time at Croome I have been active a wide range of activities including working on volunteer development and training, being a house guide, driving the visitor shuttle, contributing to special events and also being a volunteer member of the Croome Redefined Project Board. There are probably a few other things I have missed out but at Croome variety is the spice of life and I continue to be active on all the above.
What's my favourite part of Croome?
That’s a hard question to answer. Croome as a whole is made up of so many elements such as the Coventry family story and the associated mansion and the historic ‘Capability’ Brown parkland, the story of the secret wartime RAF base, the later stories of when it was a boys school and the Krishna college. So many things, but if I have to choose a favourite part, it is the people at Croome that I select. The other volunteers and the members of staff that I have got to know and work with over the years. The buzz and fun of being part of a great team is what makes it so worthwhile.
What's my favourite story about Croome?
The story I enjoy sharing most with visitors at Croome is the tale of the ‘Lost Tapestries’. As a story it has a bit of everything with a great beginning, some bad behaviour in the middle and a sort of happy ending. Great fun to share with people.
What do I do when I’m not volunteering?
When I manage to escape from Croome, my wife June and I do a fair bit of travelling. Having been brought up on the Thames estuary I have always sailed and I am lucky enough to part own a 46 foot sailing cruiser in the Mediterranean which we use each year. We’ve recently also started cruising on larger ships, as many do at our age, and that has been great fun. Finally, music has always been part of my life and I still enjoy playing with my chums at Croome in our very own blues band.
What advice would I give anyone thinking about volunteering with the National Trust?
Volunteering is a great thing to do and the National Trust is a super organisation to become involved with. My main advice would be to go along to the property nearest to you and have a talk to staff and volunteers there to gain a clear idea of what goes on and the opportunities available. That way you will have a much better idea of what you are getting into. That said, give it a go! I’m sure you’ll enjoy the experience.