Ken volunteers at Oxburgh Hall

Conservation Volunteer, Oxburgh Hall

Ken - Conservation Volunteer

Ken has been retired for six years and moved to Norfolk from the Midlands five years ago. He is part of a small but growing team of conservation volunteers at Oxburgh Hall.

Ken cleaning in the house at Oxburgh Hall

Why did you decide to volunteer with the National Trust?

I always wanted to be doing something when I retired and work to our own house took a good three years to get finished.

One day a neighbour of ours asked us if we had ever been to Oxburgh Hall. We’ve been members of the National Trust for 25 years and we used to go out to properties regularly when we lived in the West Midlands.

She said she was a volunteer room guide there, that she would be in the priest hole on Sunday and if we wanted to come over she would give us a tour. So on the Sunday we came over, walked under the arch and saw Oxburgh.

That was one of those magic moments. Both my wife and I fell in love with the place straight away and I knew I wanted to be involved in helping to look after it for the future.

What does your role involve?

All forms of conservation work really, be it ceramics, paintings and wood work. Basically everything to improve the look and protect the ornaments and collection that can be found in the house.

What are you enjoying the most?

Where do I start! I enjoy all aspects of the conservation work in the house. I like working with other people with likeminded interests. It is just a pleasure and a joy to come here. I look forward to it. It has become an addiction if you like, Oxburgh is my second home. But my wife is very happy for me!

What do you do in your spare time?

Mainly gardening. It is exactly like working here – there is a before and after with everything I do, and I get so much appreciation from it. With the gardening I get a buzz out of doing it and other people see it and make nice comments. I enjoy being creative.

What has been the most valuable part of your volunteering experience?

It’s working with such precious objects in the house and being able to be part of the conservation team, that to me is the value. I go away from here feeling really good and I can’t wait to get back again! Since we have retired I want to give my time to something I feel really passionate about. I love the Trust, I love the houses they look after and I love being part of it.