From footman to front of house
Romain Arrayet started as a volunteer at Ickworth and fell in love with the place, so his new role as Visitor Experience Assistant was the perfect transition from volunteer to staff member!
When did you start volunteering at Ickworth?
I started volunteering in 2014 in the Visitor Welcome team. I already visited Ickworth weekly enjoying the scenery on my walk, and I always loved it here, especially the atmosphere of the stumpery! I had one day off a week from my job in a restaurant, and wanted to spend it at Ickworth volunteering.
What kind of roles have you done at Ickworth?
I have been volunteering in lots of different roles …from welcoming visitors, to helping in events at outdoor theatres and creating children’s crafts. My favourite role is on Living History days where I get into character as Thomas Brown the footman of Ickworth.
" The highlight of the Living history days is watching the reaction of the audience when we are all in character. It’s fantastic!"
What do you do on Living history days?
Living history is great fun for both the team and visitors! We act out a day in the life of a servant, as if we were back in the 1930s. As a volunteer group we meet up in the morning and take part in a warming up exercise to help us get into character, and then we start the day! My partner, Paul also volunteers and is a footman but we’re in character on those days and I will tell him off if I need to!
And after four years of volunteering, you’ve recently become a staff member?
Yes! I realised I was always really looking forward to coming into Ickworth and wanted to feel like that my whole week. I applied for a Visitor Experience Assistant job and got it, which was great.
How do you think volunteering helps your role as a member of staff?
Part of my role is supervising volunteers, so I feel my experience as a volunteer has helped me understand and give a balanced approached to the team.
Would you recommend volunteering at Ickworth and with the National Trust?
Absolutely! If you want to feel appreciated, and part of a team and build great friendships then definitely!