Guide, bellringer and volunteer
Donald... moves chairs, meets and greets, rings bells.
'Don’t believe a word he says' is what some holiday makers are implored from a passing motorist as I lead a small group of visitors around our historic town of St Anne. Well, Alderney’s heritage is ‘unbelievable’; who would suspect this tiny Island to have a Roman fort, unique Victorian defences, or a modest cottage to contain a stone fireplace circa 1300 AD? The history and architecture of the Island is what first attracted me to come to live here in 2005 and very soon I volunteered to guide interested groups around the town.
Like many other retired residents who make up the ‘Dads Army’ of volunteers I find no two days are ever the same. Alderney, with a population of approximately 2000, can certainly outperform any similar sized village in terms of talent and enthusiasm and the multitude of events all need back-of-house
support. My involvement spans working with the theatre group behind the scenes; ‘meet and greet’ at our regular music concerts (classical, jazz, cabaret) and stack the chairs afterwards... or to simply support whatever is going on.
I live in the centre of St Anne, overlooking our beautiful church, another heritage gem designed by Sir George Gilbert-Scott, and the sound of our original six bells stirred my interest. I will never be a good bellringer but now part of the band ringing on our recently installed twelve bells is a real pleasure... when you get it right! I can also be found digging on my allotment, showing visitors around the lighthouse or walking the coastal path, especially the southern cliffs. I presume you are reading this with a view to visiting; well come on over, it’s a great island, or come and live here just like I did. If you want to be a train driver, star in a show, or sail a boat and are not ready to ‘retire’ I know a place for you.