Meet Jill

Volunteer, Sutton Hoo

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Jill Beard - Volunteer

One of our volunteers, Jill talks about how she brings her skills to Sutton Hoo.

Sutton Hoo volunteer, Jill, outside Tranmer House

I have at home an essay about Sutton Hoo which I wrote in 1972 as a young archaeology student. The wonder and excitement I felt then about its story is clear. Forty three years later, I found myself in Suffolk visiting that very site. I could still feel the magic, and my enthusiasm for this special place has only grown over the past few years I have spent volunteering.

We moved up to Suffolk from Wiltshire and, without small children at school, I was slightly apprehensive about how I would find a path for myself in retirement. The moment I met our wonderful Volunteer Coordinator, Sally, I knew I had found a new home.

The training was engagingly informative, but not the least intimidating. Every volunteer I was assigned to shadow was welcoming and reassuring. I was able to build up my knowledge gradually (knowing very little about the Anglo-Saxons), without any panicked preparation. But the more I learned from training sessions and my fellow-volunteers, the more fascinated and eager I became to know more.

It's the sort of place that really grabs your imagination.

For me, the most appealing aspect to Sutton Hoo volunteering is the wide variety of possible opportunities. As the years have gone by, I have been able to guide in the Exhibition Hall and in Tranmer House, help look after the textiles collection, make floral posies to sell, run a Christmas wreath workshop, co-design an Activity Book, work on an excavation, learn Geophysics survey techniques - the list is endless! Whatever your interests, there will be a role to suit.

And, of course, the wide variety of social events put on for volunteers allows us all to enjoy each other’s company and meet up outside Sutton Hoo, such as theatre outings or trips down to the British Museum and always get together for a convivial meal beforehand.

It really is everything I could have asked for in a volunteer experience - I hope to meet you there!