Friends of RBBM
I retired from full time work 6 years ago and having spent the first 5 of those with The Conservation Volunteers, I came to the RBBM just over a year ago as a “Buggy” driver which involves meeting and greeting visitors, transporting them on the buggy between the Museum and Burns Cottage, or any other places the buggy will reach, and helping with other information and advice where I can.
As with most volunteering the role rarely stops there and I now find myself helping out from time to time in all sorts of other ways which I find very rewarding , stimulating and helps me feel part of the team.
Driving the buggy allows me to meet a whole range of interesting folk from all four corners of the planet and I am constantly amazed at how well Robert Burns is known even in the smallest and most remote of islands but these global travellers offer a wide range of stimulating conversation which is rarely restricted just to the “Bard”.
The Volunteers at RBBM also help run a Garden shop, situated in the grounds of the museum, and a gift shop in the nearby town of Ayr which offers a wide variety of goods manufactured by local crafters and is also a shop window for the RBBM itself. The main purpose though of both these venues is to raise funds for the restoration and improvement of the Burns Monument which is just one of the bold and innovative ideas being developed by the management team at RBBM.
One variation on the theme, which I particularly remember, was the great fun we all had on Halloween: volunteers and staff together, creating and acting out a costume drama incorporating the Burns Cottage, Poets Path and “Auld Kirk” and providing lots of “bloodthirsty” and scary moments for those visitors brave enough to come back after dark !
I find volunteering a great way to keep fit, active ,meet new people and maintain a standard of life which rarely falters and you may go a long way before finding a better place to do all this than with the team at RBBM and the beautiful countryside surrounding it.
Last week, RBBM’s Book Club and Cupcake Cafe celebrated its first birthday in style. For the past year, the group has been meeting on the last Tuesday afternoon of every month and has now swelled in numbers so much it has had to be split into two! Every month a new book is selected and past reading material has included the Suspicions of Mr Whicher and The Widow and her Hero. These books are kindly provided for us by the Carnegie Library in Ayr. To mark this special occasion, our catering department provided some delicious looking scones, and the group’s very own pastry chef created this scrumptious big iced cake and candle! We would like to wish the Book Club a very Happy Birthday and give a big thanks to everyone involved in running it and of course all those who attend!
In other news, our dedicated team of volunteers have been working hard to prepare the garden shop for opening on the 18th April (Good Friday). The Friends of RBBM have raised a lot of money for a very good cause with the proceeds from plant sales and are looking forward to getting stuck in again this year. Watch this space for further details.
Last week we were once again overwhelmed by the dedication and talents of our volunteers. On Saturday 22nd February Glasgow Phoenix Choir held a concert in Alloway Parish Church and a special pleasure was the prominence of our own volunteer Billy as solo tenor. His rendition of Ae Fond Kiss was particularly moving. He also came up with the idea of bringing the choir to Alloway in the first place to raise money for the repair and restoration of Burns Monument.
The choir looked stunning as they entered in their white tuxedo jackets and elegant black evening dresses – all seventy of them. The programme, led with great verve by Conductor Marilyn J Smith, was perfectly designed for the venue and audience with a strong theme of Burns and Scottish songs but also sacred and modern classics too. The church was packed and you could feel the warmth of the response to song after song. A Treasurer of the Friends of RBBM has let us know that the concert raised a significant sum!
Many grateful thanks go to everyone who supported it by coming along, spreading the word and selling tickets to family, friends and neighbours and also ‘Team Sandwich’, the band of volunteers who spent hours beforehand buttering and spreading sandwiches for 70 people! Thanks also to the church representatives that were an invaluable help. And not to miss out the staff at RBBM who went above and beyond expectations in selling tickets and giving information.