After twenty four years of working in school administration I retired from my role as school business manager last year. I enjoyed many vibrant and interesting years in a job that varied from moment to moment – in the morning I could be managing director and by lunchtime find that my capacity as diplomat to eight year olds was being put to the test.

On retiring, I decided I would like to embark upon a few hours of voluntary work that could fit around my other interests; pilates, jazzercise, theatre trips and travelling. I kept an eye on adverts seeking volunteers and made a few enquiries.

It was in January when, by chance, I realised where I might find a volunteering opportunity that had real appeal. With an interest in live entertainment and different local events I booked to attend an evening of close up magic at Braintree District Museum. Wow – I was blown away by the fabulous magic and so impressed by the whole event! It led me to think that the museum would be a very interesting and most worthwhile organisation in which to volunteer my services and engage with the local community.

Here I am a few months later, fully immersed in the life of Braintree District Museum! You can find me assisting in the shop, helping with craft activities in the school holidays, serving refreshments at events, and even taking an abandoned shopping trolley back to Tesco on one occasion. A keen attitude and willingness are required for any volunteering post…!

Soon after I joined, the museum held an Oscars Evening event for volunteers. I was made to feel most welcome by everyone and even received an award! See below for a photo from Braintree District Museum’s Facebook page (I’m second from the right!).

I am enjoying learning more and more about the museum and have found that the staff and other volunteers have been most patient in helping me use the till in the shop. I am now gaining confidence in this area and am delighted to be learning new skills even in retirement. I’ve made many new friends by volunteering and needless to say I will continue with the enjoyable and enriching volunteer work at Braintree District Museum.