My husband comes from an RAF family and so it was no surprise when he started volunteering at Stow Maries Great War Aerodrome some two or three years ago. One day he invited me along to a meeting they were having for their small band of tour guides and somehow, by the end of it, I had joined their ranks!
It did not take long for me to be completely captivated by the unique site with its collection of original WW1 buildings and by the stories of the airmen and support staff that had inhabited them. I really enjoyed learning about the place and the part it played in the Great War during its very short operational life. I then spent most weekends passing on my knowledge and enthusiasm to visitors. On special event days I would put on my WRAF uniform and represent one of the local women who had enlisted to work as housekeepers or secretaries at the site one hundred years ago.
My volunteering then stepped up a few levels when our new CEO arrived in May 2016 and I tentatively offered to help him recruit more volunteers. The job turned out to be much bigger than I initially thought and I now volunteer two or more days a week in the Communications Hut Office as part of the Admin Team. I run recruitment and induction sessions and make sure that new volunteers receive our handbook and then get the training they need for which ever role they take up. One of my assignments was to set up the Squadron News which is an e-newsletter that is sent out to all the volunteers. There are now two other volunteers who have taken over production of the weekly issues.
“No two days are the same at Stow Maries and you never know who is going to turn up or what you might be asked to do.”
I have made so many new friends amongst the enthusiastic and committed people who dedicate many hours of their time to support and develop the aerodrome. Some maintain the estate and its buildings, some help in the Airmen’s Mess or the shop, while others have curatorial duties in research and cataloguing, in the museums or outside giving guided tours.
The aerodrome needs to recruit even more volunteers so if you like the idea of joining the dedicated and friendly team at this unique historical site please click on the links below for more details: