We have a huge network (well, by our standards) of staff members who work at least part of the year for us, ranging from those full-time year round, through seasonal staff right down to the odd ex-herder roped in for literally just a day or two a year. Our job is made far easier however, by the epic efforts of a constant stream of volunteers, and 2019 has been no exception. So this is just a wee blog to say thank you to everyone!
We have, over the years, built up quite a collection of regular, long-standing volunteers, some of whom visit annually, and some just every now and then. The top dog of this crew has to be retired joiner Paul, who first came to help for a couple of weeks back in May 1999. Twenty years on and he’s still coming for a fortnight twice a year to ‘mend, bend, and fix’ and while he may be 80 now, age hasn’t slowed him down too much yet!
Emm is another very regular volunteer, having settled into a regular pattern in the last couple of years of 4 separate weeks of volunteering throughout the year. She’s a great help to us with everything reindeer related, and the kitchen table is never short of cake while she’s around… You can read more about one of her stints in her blog here. We also have Sharon and Colin who come once or twice a year too – always bringing a good supply of crafting materials for the Paddocks, and – socks! Their blog is here:
Our other type of regular volunteer is the lovely Anna who’s been helping us out once a week throughout the summer and autumn, and we hope will continue to do so in the future. Stella fits into this category too but is a bit elusive of late – she’s always off volunteering for all sorts of different organisations or visiting far-flung parts of the world. Having far too much fun! Stella – if you’re reading this, will we ever see you again?!
Long-standing volunteers have the luxury of picking and choosing what season they want to come in, but otherwise we are helped out by a steady stream of helpers from the last week of May until the end of October. This year has been great, and I think I’ve remarked to everyone here at some point just how lucky we’ve been with the 2019 vols! Once upon a time we used to get mainly vet students wanting to volunteer in order to gain experience, but nowadays we seem to get a much wider range of people from all walks of life, which suits us nicely as it’s lovely to meet so many interesting people! This year they included a chocolatier, an Olympic physiotherapist, a costume designer and a goat milker, with all sorts in between! So HUGE thanks for all their willing and tireless help to Arianne, Cathy, Becks, Katy, Rowena, Katie F, Sally, Laura F, Amy, Ida, Mary, Hannah, Christine, Kathleen, Helen K, Laura W, Helen A, Heather, Katie D, Kimberley, Mhairi, Lou and Joanne. But no thanks whatsoever to the volunteer who booked in for a week and then never turned up, having not thought to mention to us that her plans had changed…
Special thanks and recognition go to Cathy, who downed tools with 3 days’ notice to drive to the opposite end of the country to help us out after another volunteer cancelled on us; and to Rowena, Sally, Mary and Katie D who all came in 2018 and had such a good time they gave up another spell of their precious time to come back this year. And another special mention (and possibly a round of applause!) has to go to Helen A, who managed to break her wrist on the third day of her week with us but still soldiered on for the next 4 days! And finally Nell, who managed to time her volunteering stint just at the point that we decided we needed an extra staff member for the summer, so she ended up with two months’ paid work afterwards.
Thank you all SO much – we’ve loved having you all here and hope you all had a great time! And I expect we’ll see quite a few of you again in the future 😊