We’re saying thank you to our Volunteer team this week. Today, Lynne is our featured volunteer:
I can’t remember a time when I wasn’t interested in Richard III and I’ve always believed he was a much-maligned monarch.
One day when I was walking by, I found myself going into the Visitor Centre and asking about volunteering. I’ve made some wonderful friends here and had some amazing experiences, most of them have been good, but the odd one has been very trying to say the least!
I’ve had some lovely experiences with school parties, one little boy asked me how old you had to be before you could be kinged, that wasn’t an easy one to answer – I can tell you! The best question I received was if it had been proved 100% that Michael Ibsen and Wendy Duldig were direct descendants of Richard? I said that it was beyond reasonable doubt that they were. In that case why don’t they claim the throne, they asked? For once I was at a loss for words, and those that know me well know that is quite an achievement.
Over the years I have noticed a change in the visitor’s interest, when I first started it was not long after Richard’s discovery and most visitors were interested in the actual find and the people involved in this. Now I find most of the visitors are more interested in the life and times of Richard III.
When I am on duty in the gravesite, I have many enjoyable conversations explaining the events that occurred just after the battle. There is so much information to give them and I have often been chatting for over twenty minutes with visitors. The thanks and appreciation make it all worthwhile. We’ve covered many subjects. The Princes in the Tower is a favourite topic and nothing gives me greater pleasure than being asked to share my opinion, to see visitors changing their minds, or confirming what they already thought.
It’s nice to ‘put some flesh on the bones’ as one visitor described when I was explaining about possible events around Richard’s actual burial. Another visitor came over and shook my hand and thanked me for making it all seem so real. Sometimes I make it a bit lighthearted but hopefully it helps visitors to appreciate the times as they were then.
It’s a fine art to judge when to approach visitors to offer your help or when to stay away and leave them in peace but I like to think after five years I’ve cracked it, most of the time anyway.
Each time I volunteer it’s a blank canvas and I never know what or who the day will bring, after nearly five years I still love it.