Meet Ickworth's Buggy Driver Extraordinaire

David Beer Interview photo

David provides a service for those who find it difficult to walk long distances, for those who want to escape from the rain, and for those who wish to visit Ickworth’s areas of beauty.

When did you start at Ickworth?


My wife, Gay and I moved to Suffolk in 2009 and shortly after this Gay started volunteering in the House at Ickworth. She was involved in the 1930s Ickworth Lives project transforming the basement and allowing visitors to experience a glimpse of life below stairs. My sister also volunteered as a gardener at Blickling Hall, a National Trust property in Norfolk so you could say volunteering was something of a family affair.


I began as a garden volunteer at Ickworth in 2012, and after two years realised I wanted to interact more with the visitors. So I moved to the role of Buggy Driver and work mostly Sundays, and as and when the team need me. I still work part time as the Director of a software solutions company based in Manchester, so I cannot always give regular days.


What do you enjoy about being the Buggy Driver Volunteer?


I enjoy talking to the visitors, helping them have a great start to their day and making sure I’m being helpful and friendly. I enjoy recounting stories of Ickworth during trips on the buggy especially the early history of the parkland.


After a while you tend to develop your own informal tours for visitors – I feel I give a good potted chronological history of the estate. For example, how old Ickworth is and why it looks the way it does.


What is your favourite area of Ickworth?


My favourite spot is down at the Walled Garden, on the other side of the Fairy Lake. You can look up at the Church, glimpses of the Rotunda and imagine where the old Manor House would have been. I also enjoy showing visitors The Walled Garden, parking the buggy at the Bothy cottage and watching as the view stops visitors in their tracks!


Why do you volunteer at Ickworth?


Ickworth has a great bunch of people working as a part of the team. I believe volunteers here are respected for what they do and we are looked after by the property. I would recommend it to anyone.