Eddie is still volunteering at 90

Outdoors volunteer, Sutton Hoo

Eddie Rawlins - Outdoors volunteer

Eddie is 91 this year and is much loved by everyone at Sutton Hoo.

Close up of Eddie outside at Sutton Hoo

Eddie was in the Glider Pilot Regiment during the Second World War and following that he was a teacher for over 40 years in Coventry.  He keeps us all entertained with his stories and has a fantastic sense of humour. 

Why did you decide to become a volunteer for the National Trust?

My wife and I have been members of the National Trust since the early 1960s. I vowed in the early days of our marriage that when I had enough spare cash I would join. Our first visit was to the beautiful Hidcote Gardens in Warwickshire as we then lived in Rugby. 

Many years later we moved to Woodbridge in pursuit of retirement and grand-children. That was in 2000, just before Sutton Hoo opened to the public.

There was an immediate cry for volunteers. My wife helped in the Exhibition and I joined the Monday outdoor squad. The array of jobs on offer was vast. Folk were wanted for general maintenance, guides, reception and staffing the restaurant. We were there at the beginning and able to choose from a variety of roles.

Tell us more about your conservation work

Since volunteering at Sutton Hoo, we've planted shrubs and bulbs including rhododendrons, snowdrops, daffodils and bluebells. 

Two other jobs were (and still are) walking the red and blue walks checking the condition of trees and keeping the courtyard area outside the visitor centre in good order. Trevor (Barrell) and I are in serious competition to see who can rake the straightest lines. Modesty prevents me from claiming my success.

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

Probably working with people who share my enthusiasm for working for the Trust. Many of these have become dear friends.