Spotlighting Lyme's Volunteers

Volunteer welcomes visitors to the garden at Lyme, Cheshire

Saturday 1 - Friday 7 June is National Volunteering Week, a national-wide celebration of the amazing contributions that volunteers make to organisations like the National Trust. A few of our volunteers in roles from drivers to rangers shared their stories of why they choose to come to Lyme

Kate has been a retail volunteer for 2 years, helping our staff in the shops

I started with volunteering in 2012 with the Olympics and the Para-Olympics. But I really wanted to do something different to the sport stuff, and the National Trust and Lyme has provided that for me – it’s a lovely place with lovely people.

Kate restocks the Hall shop
A volunteer restocks a shop display
Kate restocks the Hall shop

Tony has been volunteering at Lyme for 7 years, and is a Courtesy Vehicle Driver for our free onsite minibus

I’d just retired, so I was looking for something to volunteer at. I think, when I came here, the thing that the National Trust is very good at is the way it interacts with volunteers and looks after them, and that’s what attracts you to stay.

Courtesy Vehicle Driver Tony waits for passengers
The Lyme minibus with driver, and passenger standing outside
Courtesy Vehicle Driver Tony waits for passengers

Stuart, who has volunteered at Lyme for the past 5 years, is also a Courtesy Vehicle Driver for the shuttle buggy, and a Buildings Maintenance Volunteer

It was my wife, really… I’ve been retired 17 years now, so after 12 years, I think she wanted a bit of space at home! And we saw the advert for the Open Day and she said ‘Oh, why don’t you go and have a look and think about volunteering one day a week.’ So I came and I liked it so much. Then when the buggy stopped running in October I went to see Phil [the Estate Buildings Foreman] and I got on the Buildings team for the winter and I’ve been doing two days there ever since.

The winter job, it’s using my knowledge to be able to make a positive help to the National Trust, and I’ve found the people I work with are a really good solid team. We have a good laugh, I really enjoy it, and it gets me out. When you retire, you think, well, what can you do with your life and so you think, I’ll go give something back to a charity. And coming here is lovely. My wife calls it my second home!

Stuart is a Buildings Maintainence volunteer as well as a Courtesy Vehicle Driver
A volunteer drives the onsite shuttle buggy at Lyme
Stuart is a Buildings Maintainence volunteer as well as a Courtesy Vehicle Driver

Elaine has volunteered for 4 years, as a Room Guide, Conservation Assistant and Book Conservation Assistant

I used to come as a child and I’ve always liked coming up to Lyme. I visit various National Trust properties and I always thought I’d like to be a room guide. I’m interested in history as well – I wanted a change because I used to work in science and history gives me other interests.

Book condition reporting was a move on from conservation work. I’ve always been interested in books, and the books in here are so interesting. I love it, I feel so privileged to be able to get hold of the books and touch them and look at them - I really enjoy doing that.

Elaine is a room guide at Lyme as well as doing conservation work
A room guide with a red folder speaks to a member of staff
Elaine is a room guide at Lyme as well as doing conservation work

Meanwhile, some of our ranger volunteers can often be found at Lyme early in the morning, conducting a moth survey, as well as walking transects in the park to count butterflies. David and Andrew told us a little more about this conservation work.

[David] Lyme is really important because in North-East Cheshire there is no other habitat like it where you have a managed wild area on a large scale, containing a variety of habitats that have been, as far and butterflies and moths are concerned, largely unmonitored.

[Andrew] I started volunteering here because I discovered a butterfly called the White Letter Hairstreak, which apparently hadn’t been recorded here before, in Cluse Hey, and it was through David that I got involved with volunteering,  and in particular the transect walks themselves; the transect in Cluse Hey was subsequently set up because of that.

The ranger volunteers inspect a moth trap and count species
Six volunteers inspect a moth trap
The ranger volunteers inspect a moth trap and count species
Volunteers put their specialist skills to good use at Lyme, Cheshire

Many hands make Lyme work

There are many ways you can become part of the team at Lyme and help keep this wonderful place ticking along, as well as supporting us. Fancy joining us? Please get in touch with us to find out more via lyme@nationaltrust.org.uk