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Sandra Soer – Vulcan and Cold War Guide
What I do
I have been a volunteer for 5 years and have thoroughly enjoyed being involved with the many different opportunities that are offered at RAF Museum Hendon. I have received training and have also undertaken my own research for my various roles. These include being a tour guide for WW1; being a guide for partially sighted visitors; assisting our visitors in object handling and trying on uniforms; being one of the Spitfire Experience team; helping with aircraft access events and accompanying our aircraft to static displays off site.
What I love
The fact that many opportunities are offered to volunteers and it is wonderful to be involved in events that normally I would not have the chance to enjoy. One of the most satisfying and successful of these is the Vulcan and Cold War Experience. To be part of our team that enables visitors to access the mighty Vulcan and Phantom, and provides a full history of the V Force, Blue Steel and all our aircraft associated with that era is a huge privilege, particularly as we were awarded Highly Commended by the London Heritage Volunteer Awards last year. This tour is very popular and successful and it can be quite emotional at times to hear stories from visiting pilots who have flown these amazing aircraft as well as our visitors’ reasons for taking this tour.
I find it an honour to interact with our visitors and every tour is different. You never know if you are talking to currently serving RAF personnel, one of the Trustees of the museum or the great grandson of a Spitfire pilot. I would never get the chance to meet all these people if I did not volunteer at the museum.
The support and friendliness from all the staff and volunteers at the museum is fantastic, nothing is too much trouble. They happily share their expertise and knowledge. During the Coronavirus outbreak, our Managers and Senior Team have included and updated us in all the changes and plans for the opening of the museum and for the future, ensuring the well-being and protection of all the staff and visitors. We have had invitations to join Zoom meetings, raise any individual concerns and forward any ideas or comments.
What I get
There is a great sense of satisfaction that I am perhaps helping visitors fulfil something they have always wanted to accomplish. By relating and sharing information about our aircraft and artefacts I become more knowledgeable and am helping to keep the stories alive for future generations. It is great to feel part of the team that delivers so much to our visitors that come from all over the world. The museum welcomed a group of American veterans specifically to the Liberator as most had been crew members during WW2. As my father had served in the 9th USAAF I was thrilled to meet them and explain how he met my WAAF mother. It was a wonderful experience. Volunteering at the museum is very important to me and I am proud to be part of its future.