Saturday, 5 October 2013

The volunteering life ... meet Maureen

At "70 something and a few", with 10 years at Gibside, Maureen Lawler is one of our longest serving volunteers. She has her own plot with fellow volunteer Sylvia, growing fruit and vegetables, and tends the lovely cut flower bed too!
Maureen deadheading in the cut flower bed

After my husband died, my son suggested that I might want to do some voluntary work, and he thought that Gibside might be a good place to try that. Approximately 10 years ago I started work with a "foot in both camps" selling raffle tickets on Sundays, and at the large music concerts that Gibside used to hold, and working in the Walled Garden on Wednesdays. Selling raffle tickets at the concerts was great fun as there were so many different people to meet, but unfortunately this came to an end, as the concerts stopped, and so did my Sunday bus service!

I continue to work in the Walled Garden on a Wednesday and still really enjoy this. There have been vast changes from the small plots that we started with and hopefully the garden will soon be fully restored.

busy in the veg plot ...
I find the whole experience very enjoyable - especially chatting to the visitors. Everyone is always so interested in what is going on and what flowers and crops we are growing. The work is varied too and no two weeks are the same, although there is always weeding to be done. Where do they all come from? At the moment, I am busy working on the cut flower bed and my own plot; there is harvesting, cutting back and planning for next year to be done.

The gang I work with are great fun, very friendly, helpful and supportive and I would never want to swap them!

I'm not sure how much longer I will be able to contribute bearing in mind that I am now 70 something and a few but my plan is to go on as long as I can.

Maureen Lawler

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