A Stoneywell Garden Host

A garden host waiting to start a tour at Stoneywell

Anne Maddox has been volunteering at Stoneywell since the autumn of 2014, getting the garden ready for visitors to enjoy the following spring. In between taking tours around the garden, Anne spent some time with us to share her volunteering experiences.

Why did you start volunteering?

I was made redundant unexpectedly in my mid-fifties, along with many another baby-boomers. As I emerged, blinking, into the sunlit uplands of retired freedom, I was determined:

  • Never to be a wage slave again.
  • To use my remaining strength and energy doing something I would enjoy.
  • To give something back to the National Trust whose varied properties had given me so many happy leisure hours and memories to treasure.

What is your role and what are you involved with at the moment?

I am a garden host, showing people around the beautiful grounds, telling visitors anecdotes about the Gimsons and pointing out the horticultural highlights each week. It changes all the time, according to the season - and the weather!

What's your favourite thing about volunteering?

Hard to pick just one: the delight on visitors' faces when they find how much there is to see is hard to beat, and there is also such a sense of belonging to somewhere special, and having privileged, behind-the-scenes access.

What makes Stoneywell special for you?

The cottage is so quirky and the grounds are so beautiful. There is a real sense of place here and the Gimson family's deep love and care for it still shines through, proving that the Trust's stewardship of this treasure is highly successful.

What advice would you give for anyone who is thinking about volunteering with the National Trust?

You will be amazed at the variety of roles on offer and you will make such good friends that you shouldn't hesitate to give it a go.