Tue, 02 Jun 2020
Volunteers are essential to the day-to-day running of West Berkshire Culture and Libraries Service. Here, in the second of a series of features celebrating the valuable work that volunteers do, Ken Summers describes his varied role assisting with Shaw House and West Berkshire Museum.
“WHEN I retired, I looked around for something to occupy my time, after all, there is only so much decorating, gardening, fishing and bird-watching you can do... So after some deliberation, I decided to look at volunteering. With an interest in local history, I first approached West Berkshire Museum which was just about to reopen and I was offered a role working with the collections; documenting, researching and storing donated items for future generations to enjoy.
Having grown-up on Shaw Estate which was relatively new at the time, the fields, woods and grounds around Shaw House were my playground, but sadly due to progress, much of this has now gone. So, when an opportunity came to volunteer at the ‘House’, I was happy to get involved, having been fascinated by the building and its history since those early days.
Since taking on the role I’ve been involved with a wide variety of events which include the seasonal fairs, concerts, open air cinemas, outdoor theatre, children’s puppet shows and Hallowe’en parties to name but a few.
One day I could be marshalling cars in the car park, another helping stallholders set up at fairs or stewarding at concerts and theatre. I get to meet some fascinating and interesting people, see some brilliant shows and work with a great bunch of guys and gals in grand surroundings – what more could I ask for?
I was once asked what I like best about volunteering at Shaw House and my answer was “every minute of it”.
I particularly like the winter months and Christmas time, when the ‘House’ is decorated. It takes on an extra cheery feel. Walking to the House from the car park on a cold and frosty night when Shaw House is all lit up – it’s just
If you are interested in volunteering with West Berkshire Cultural and Library service then please contact www.westberks.gov.uk/volunteer or (01635) 519533.