Lisa Little reflects on the the Volunteer Awards 2018

Lisa Little reflects on the the Volunteer Awards 2018

I have been in post nearly 10 months now as the Museum and Collections Manager at the Sheringham Museum at the Mo, on arrival it became quickly apparent how wonderful all our volunteers are. In short we wouldn’t have a museum without them! When the Share Volunteers awards nominations opened I was left with a dilemma, many of them would have qualified, and perhaps I should have nominated them also, but where do you start? In discussion with my Chair of Directors and the support of the board I chose to only nominate one of our volunteers, Colin Seal. He thought I was joking when I said I had nominated him and the invitation came through for him to attend the ceremony, genuinely he was surprised! It was very easy to write in support of Colin, what he does for the museum could not be listed in the word count available, or easily quantified. He not only is onsite every day and gives his all, for a septuagenarian his enthusiasm for life is endless, he not only is a key figure for us at the museum but also for the whole town. His work radiates out from his artist’s studio in the museum, all along both ends of the prom and up the high street. His paintings are part of what makes Sheringham Town special, and the visitors love not only his paintings but him too. He always has time to chat to people, he loves life and has an enduring ‘glass half full’ attitude which is infectious.

photo taken by Karen Bethell

The day of the awards ceremony came around very quickly and I met him at the train station, I have to confess I had never seen him clean, by this I mean not covered in paint, in fact I didn’t recognise him! We arrived at the marquee after spending an hour or so looking at the collections at MEAL, and he saw that there was a mug with his name on, which he was impressed by and thought that was reward enough. I have to confess that as I sat awaiting the winner’s names to be called I was extremely nervous for him, my heart was beating as if it was me, silly I know. To be called on stage and given such a lovely glass award just made the icing on the cake – so proud of Colin and all our team at the museum, justly deserved. Colin said he didn’t initially recognise the description of himself and then for a split second thought ‘Oh, is there someone else who paints murals?’

One of the things he first said to me when he was planning the last Viking Festival was that he would like to go to Valhalla with a paintbrush in his hand, very fitting but not yet Colin, there is so much more we need you to do!

If you would like to read more about Colin, he was interviewed by the Eastern Daily Press

A Night to Remember! The SHARE Volunteer Awards

With Volunteer Awards season just round the corner, we’ve been speaking to Niki Hughes, a founding member of the scheme in 2015, and integral part of it’s steering group today.

In the atmospheric surroundings of the Fitzwilliam Museum, the second annual SHARE Volunteer Awards took place on 9th June 2016. This event coincided with National Volunteer Week, and was intended to celebrate the hard work that Volunteers had carried out across the region. 69 nominations were received from all sorts of museums, with staff taking the opportunity to say a big “thank you” to their dedicated teams.

The SHARE team and Awards Steering Committee deliberated hard to ensure that each category reflected the vast array of activities that volunteers had undertook. Every museum was invited to think about both individuals and teams to nominate.

Every nominee was invited to the event. A full range of volunteers heard about activities and  achievements from across the region. It was great to see a mixture of glad rags and overalls sipping drinks and chatting in the opulence of the Impressionist Gallery!

We are hoping that the Awards will continue to grow; this year’s event will take place on Thursday 8 June and will be hosted at the beautiful Museum of East Anglian Life. Nominations will open from 23rd February and everyone is encouraged to think about who they could nominate for these awards. After all, you have to be in it to win it!

Niki Hughes, Opening Doors Project Coordinator, University of Cambridge Museums
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