I’ve been involved with community & volunteer-run organisations for almost 30 years and never cease to be amazed by the power and enthusiasm of passionate volunteers.
I encountered two examples of kindred spirits working in perfect harmony last week in Angus, Scotland.
The Strathmore Vintage Vehicle Club has been running for almost 50 years. It’s now a registered charity and its fantastic headquarters/museum is housed in Bridge View House, near Glamis.
The purpose-built building houses office space, a workshop and showroom packed with vintage vehicles including delivery vans, tractors and my fave, a turquoise Hillman Husky. The building was built after lots of fundraising and with the help of the volunteers’ brawn.
I got to talk to a few of the volunteers and they let me try out a vintage bike from America. I circled the car park as one of the volunteers kept an eye in case I cycled off!
I suspect some of the volunteers are much older than they appear and I bet regular spells in the magical workshop and fundraising activities help keep them young. I think the glorious scenery in that part of the world helps too.
Check out the website www.svvc.co.uk and visit the museum if you can. Recommended.
At the museum I met two more enthusiastic volunteers who live in nearby Kirriemuir. When they heard by chance that the town’s camera obscura was being closed down after the local council has forced to halt funding due to spending cuts, the locals got busy via social media!
Within weeks the building was open to the public and continues to be staffed entirely by volunteers. So why is the building important? Well it was a cricket pavillion gifted to Kirremuir in 1929 by the town’s most famous son, J M Barrie. He was passionate about cricket but the architect of the pavillion was equally passionate about camera obscuras and installed one.
I was given a grand tour of the pavillion and was shown how the camera obscura works. It’s still magical watching nearby outside events on a dish in a darkened room!
I predict great things for the venue as the volunteers are teeming with ideas and enthusiasm. Go Kirriemuir, go!
I ended my visit to Kirriemuir by visiting J. M. Barrie’s grave nearby. I loved my copy Peter and Wendy retold for Little People by May Byron and illustrated by Mabel Lucie Attwell when I was a tot.
I still have my copy with rear board missing and black and white drawings coloured in by me and the book’s previous owners…my Mum and her sister. It’s part of my family history and I treasure it.
Those Attwell sepia and cyano coloured images will never fade from my mind and how I longed for a dog like Nana!