Thank You To Our Volunteers

Recognising and celebrating our volunteers has crucial importance to the RAF Museum. We currently have over 400 volunteers across our 2 sites. Between October 2017 to September 2018 they have given about 24,000 hours of their time, or 1,000 days if you prefer.

To express our support and gratitude, every year we hold two Thank You events to make sure that our volunteers’ hard work is honoured. It’s a great opportunity for our volunteers to celebrate together, with their line managers and other key volunteering champions from the Museum.

The Volunteer Team at the RAF Museum Midlands

The RAF Museum Midlands held their event on 11 September. The event began with speeches from Cosford’s General Manager Alan Edwards, Public Events Manager Abi Betteridge, Conservation Centre Manager Darren Priday, Director of Finance and Resources Marguerite Jenkin and Access & Learning Officer Mary Kujawski. They wanted to take the opportunity to thank the volunteers for all they had done, and each speaker shared messages of gratitude and pride about how much was able to be achieved with the help of volunteers.

Volunteers at Cosford's Thank You event

These speeches were then followed by a celebration with food, drink and activities, paper rocket making and firing, as well as a photo-booth. The whole event was organised by our Volunteering Manager at Cosford Judith Karena and was held within our award-winning ‘The National Cold War Exhibition’ at our Cosford site, which provided an epic backdrop for the evening. Here are some pictures from the event:

Leanne Mee, Susan Bourtan and Jim Griffiths, 3 of our Cosford volunteers

Below are a few comments from Cosford volunteers about their experience:

Leanne Mee: ‘The volunteers at the Museum are an integral part of the organisation and their work is very much appreciated by the staff at the Museum.’

Susan Bourtan: ‘I have gained priceless experience which will set me up for life. A volunteer here becomes a full member of the team with responsibility. The different teams are all so welcoming and knowledgeable that a new volunteer is made to feel at home straight away.’

Jim Griffiths: ‘Being a Volunteer brings you into face to face contact with people from all walks of life and they all have a story to tell, and that is what makes being an RAF Museum Volunteer so enjoyable.’

The Thank You event at our London site for our London volunteers

London held its event on 10 October, on the mezzanine level in the newly refurbished Hangar 6, ‘The RAF in the Age of Uncertainty: 1980 – Today’. The night acted as good chance for volunteers and staff from range of different teams to catch up and socialise.

Our London Volunteering Manager Rachel Ball welcomed everyone to the evening and started her thank you speech with the following: ‘I would also say a heartfelt thanks, on behalf of all the line managers, Senior Leadership Team and the Trustees for the 12,600 plus hours you have given to the Museum. … Thank you for giving us your time, without you all we wouldn’t have achieved so much.’

The Thank You event for volunteers at the RAF Museum London - Tim Bracey giving a tour to another volunteer of the Blackburn Buccaneer cockpit

After the meal, staff were given the opportunity to introduce themselves and say a little bit about the difference volunteering has made to their work. The evening concluded with everyone being invited to have a look round the exhibition and to sit in the Blackburn Buccaneer, where they were shown by one of our volunteers Tim Bracey how the aircraft would have been operated while in service.

Some feedback received about the night included:
‘Meeting staff from various departments and sheer passion from them and meeting them, including the open cabin of the fighter jet – great’.

‘I just wanted to say thank you for a lovely evening, the time flew by and I’m so glad I came’.

Guy Taylor, Sandra Soer and Tony Rutherford volunteers at our London site

All in all, a great success. Our London volunteers also shared their experience:

Guy Taylor: ‘The permanent staff in the Archive and Library Team are very friendly and helpful, and treat me and the other volunteers as integral members of the team. It is clear that our efforts are regarded as valued contributions to the department’s overall activities.’

Sandra Soer: ‘It has given me an opportunity to expand my knowledge and experience and this is on-going as every day I meet new people. I enjoy the variety and meeting people from many different backgrounds. I feel proud to be part of the continuing story of RAF Hendon.’

Tony Rutherford: ‘I’ve had a great time volunteering over the last 25 years and I can’t wait to see what the next 25 years will bring.’

Volunteers and staff at Cosford's Thank You event

‘Together we achieve so much’ was the primary message of the thank you events because simply without our volunteers we could not have achieved what we have, nor continue to achieve our full aims as a Museum.

If you have been inspired by our volunteers’ stories to discover more about volunteering at the RAF Museum please examine our current opportunities HERE.

About the Author

Kieron Mantle: Digital Marketing Apprentice for the Volunteering Department

My main responsibility is to share the stories of our volunteers, their activities and volunteering within the Museum. I feel that it is very important to highlight the invaluable work of our volunteers and to celebrate how much we have achieved together.