Volunteer profile: meet Rosemary Fereday
Gardener, Sheringham Park
The Bower garden at Sheringham Park features a sensory garden, a wildflower meadow and a pond, created as a space for adults and children to explore, discover and have fun. Rosemary is one of a dedicated team of volunteers who help maintain it.
Why did you become a volunteer at Sheringham Park?
I have had connections with Sheringham Park for over 20 years since the break up of my marriage when I needed to focus on something away from home and work. I worked with the conservation volunteers clearing scrub, laying paths and cutting out unwanted growth. I learnt how to build a bonfire, roll barbed wire, build tree guards, clear bramble amongst other things and this activity gave me the perfect ‘sanctuary’ amongst like-minded people who just enjoyed being outside and making a difference to a beautiful place. These were very happy days and now it almost feels like ‘coming home’.
What do you love about volunteering here?
Being in the fresh air (and often the rain) watching the seasons change and knowing that I am really making a difference to the Park by keeping the Bower garden attractive, interesting and educational to all who visit. It keeps me active with no gym fees to pay and our small group enjoys lots of autonomy, friendship and laughter. When the first snow drops appear, or the frogs pop their heads out of the pond - it’s pure joy!
Where is your favourite spot in Sheringham Park?
Along the ‘orange’ route there is a vista looking across the park between the huge ancient trees. The view was planned to focus on the stunning house in the distance and onto the sea beyond. Wonderful all year round and a fabulous place to sit and have my sandwiches!
What surprised you most about volunteering?
Having volunteered in many capacities for most of my adult life I can’t think of any major surprises, except perhaps for the vast amount of fascinating and diverse people I continue to meet along the way. There are many surprising conversations and personal stories shared and several long term friendships are forged as a result.
What have you learned since joining the team?
I have learned that there is always something new to learn! Someone in the team will always have a different perspective, experience or cracking idea to share.
What would you say to someone thinking about volunteering?
Stop thinking and start doing! You will not know what you have missed until you try. There are endless opportunities out there... just go for it!