Manchester volunteer supporter group celebrates 30 years


In 2016, Manchester National Trust Volunteers supporters group celebrated its 30th birthday and held a party to mark the occasion. The committee had contacted many former members past and present and their families and in June, gathered at the Styal estate to celebrate.

Chairman, Daniel Black tells us about the day:

It fell to me to start the party. Using a stepladder to elevate myself above the crowd I began with the obligatory safety talk – well, we were on NT property. Since the inaugural meeting in Altrincham library on 21 April 1986, the group has on a weekly basis, worked at NT properties across the south Manchester region and beyond. Regular venues are Alderley Edge, Hare Hill, Lyme Park, Dunham Massey, Styal, the High Peak and Biddulph Grange Garden.

One reason for the group’s longevity is our enduring love of rhody-bashing. 

Volunteers get stuck in tackling invasive rhododendron
Volunteers help clear invasive rhododendron
Volunteers get stuck in tackling invasive rhododendron

I read out congratulatory messages from Tim Jarvis (our honorary member), as well as Peter Nixon, Director of Land, Landscape and Nature, who was an important influence in the group’s early years.

Early days

Alex Dawson, our founder member and early Chairman, spoke about the group's formation and early days and reminisced about life in the 80s before internet, email and website/blogs. Early newsletters were written on a typewriter and information about workdays was circulated by post and phone.

The way we communicate among ourselves, with the Trust and advertise the group may have changed over the years, but the work we do for the Trust is as valuable now as then.

" Over the three decades, we have volunteered over 50,000 hours to the Trust, worth several hundred thousand pounds."
- Daniel Black, Chairman, Manchester National Trust Volunteers group

Meeting old friends

I enjoyed meeting up with old friends and it was good fun reminiscing about times past and watching people finding their younger selves in our photo albums. Matt had produced an entertaining 20-minute slide presentation that brought the group’s 30 years of volunteering to life.  

It's not a birthday party without a cake and we had two, both covered in edible photos - one from the 1980s/90s and the other from the 2000s/2010s. Alex Dawson was given the honour of blowing out the candles and after a round of happy birthday, we toasted 30 years of fun and friendship with many more to come. The rain poured down all afternoon and the corrugated roof leaked around the edges, but in true MNTV style, we carried on regardless.