Chris has expanded her role by getting involved in research projects

House Host, Upton House & Gardens

Chris Woodcock - House Host

Chris's love for history and her passion to share her knowledge and research with visitors and colleagues keeps her motivated. She also loves to sing and joined the Upton Singing Club who performed at Christmas.

Groups of singers round the Christmas Tree

What is your role?

I'm a House Host and also an occasional Tour Guide. I also take part in research and other marketing and front of house projects, as well as singing.

What are you involved with at the moment?

I've just completed some research and produced some handouts to help create the WWII atmosphere in the house. I also had great fun singing with other Upton volunteers at Christmas.

Next I'm designing and preparing a new `Spotlight on Art' presentation for visitors and provide short, free introductions to some of the paintings for visitors.

What made you want to start volunteering with the National Trust?

Becoming part of a new team and helping to share and conserve all sorts of treasures that are on my doorstep.

What's the best part of volunteering?

Meeting enthusiastic and interesting people who are keen to find out more.

What's your favourite part of Upton?

The two paintings I love most - by Frans Pourbus the Younger and Holbein.

What's your favourite story about Upton?

Any of the quirky facts associated with Lord Bearsted's love of art and his art collection. I'm also convinced we haven't yet discovered the best stories about Lady Bearsted and other capable women associated with Upton - a large piece of research still to happen...

What do you do when you're not volunteering?

I work in corporate communications where I built and ran an international consultancy. Now I have what they call a `portfolio' career where my clients include a book publisher and an exhibitions business. I'm also finding time to study for a Masters in Art History and be an active member of our local History group, among other things.

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

There are endless ways to get involved, and you can even invent your own - so you are very likely to find one or more niches or roles that fit you perfectly. You choose what, when and how.