Sylvia Colley has volunteered at the HRM since the very beginning when the first small gallery and shop opened in West House. She has lived in Pinner since 1958 and says the establishment of our very special museum is the best thing that has happened in Pinner since she has lived here.
Sylvia retired early as Head of English from the Purcell School in order to pursue her writing and has had 2 volumes of poetry published and two novels so far. Her latest novel Ask Me to Dance was published last year. She is working on her third.
She gardens, has two allotments, keeps chickens, makes jewellery and is thrilled to be one of the artisans currently displaying in the museum shop. With all this going on I asked her why she wanted to give up time to volunteer as a retail assistant in the shop.
She tells me: ‘I was absolutely thrilled and excited by the idea of the Heath Robinson Museum and in awe of all the people who worked so tirelessly to make it happen. I still recognise the enormous commitment and work still ongoing. I wanted to give what little support I could.
I love working in the shop which is a change from the gallery work I did for many years. I so enjoy meeting and making friends with others. And am extra pleased to welcome young people who come on work placements from school and other younger volunteers and new Pinnerites. That’s what is all about: Community. Fun. Interest. And a ‘bit o culture’.
I see my role as giving a cheery welcome to visitors and showing an interest in them, where they have come from, how they know of us and so on. I give them information about our galleries and the activity room and encourage (gently!) if they seem interested in buying. I show them items they may not have noticed.
I always hope and expect our visitors to have had a positive experience.
What are the downsides? Not many really. Three hours can seem rather long if it is very quiet. But now we have our own meeting space we can at least make a coffee which is great.
The committee headed by Cynthia Wells try so hard to show their appreciation and invites volunteers to drinks and nibbles. These volunteer evenings are always so friendly and a great opportunity to re-meet and meet other volunteers. And the wine flows freely!!
I love it. But we need more people. It would be fantastic if we could open another day a week or even half a day. Come and join us. You’re so welcome and the time given up is well spent.