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Getting to know our volunteers

Meet some of our volunteers and find out more about their roles and why they enjoy volunteering at the Abbey

Rich Bosworth

Welcomer

When did you start volunteering in the Abbey?

I joined the Abbey’s team of volunteers in August 2018.

What does your role typically involve?

My role is to welcome all visitors to the Abbey in a positive and friendly manner, answering any questions that I am able to or seek further assistance from others better suited, to explain briefly the works being undertaken and how the costs are being partially supported by visitor donations. To help assist people appreciate the rich history and religious importance the Abbey has played within the Bath area over the many centuries as well as providing a helpful ‘Welcome leaflet’ that comes in an impressive array of different languages. Finally, to ensure a safe and enjoyable initial experience whilst accepting any donations people wish to make towards the renovation works.

What do you enjoy best about Abbey life?

For me it is meeting the people who come in through the door whether they are visiting from abroad or live closer to home. Everyone has a story and whilst it is often busy you still get to learn something new. I enjoy meeting people and the different cultures they hail from.

What character trait do you most admire in your fellow volunteers and why?

I genuinely respect my fellow volunteers and indeed all who work at the Abbey. They care and want to help people which in a world of increasing isolation and indifference is needed more than ever, I feel.

If you were stranded on a deserted island and could only bring one book, one piece of music and one luxury item, what would they be and why?

For the book, I would choose The Viking Wars of Alfred the Great by Paul Hill; my music choice would be New Dawn Fades by Joy Division and my luxury item would be a really good bottle of port.

Click here to find out more about how you can join Rich as a Welcomer.

Rosalind Meryon

Steward and Welcomer

When did you start volunteering in the Abbey?

My husband, Richard and I started volunteering at the Abbey in Summer 2015.

What does your role typically involve?

Some days I steward, and on others, I act as Welcomer at the front desk. Both are varied roles but help make visitors from around the world feel at home in the Abbey. Stewards often have more time to answer visitors’ questions, to have a chat with someone if they want to or to assist with basic housekeeping tasks such as ensuring there are enough candles to light.

What do you enjoy best about Abbey life? 

I enjoy being part of a team to serve the visitors, to help them with their questions, and sometimes have the privilege of praying with them about personal issues. I am passionate about history and love learning more about the past so that the present excavations are exciting, but so is the spiritual life today at the Abbey. The Abbey is such a wonderful centre for the City of Bath.

What character trait do you most admire in your fellow volunteers?

Their commitment to the work, sometimes it can be a bit dull and cold, but when we work together there is community and fellowship too. My husband and I used to live at The Garden Tomb in Jerusalem for five years and did a very similar work there with many volunteers to help us and it was so good to work together as a Team. 

If you were stranded on a deserted island and could only bring one book, one piece of music and one luxury item, what would they be and why?

Is that apart from the Bible and the Complete Works of Shakespeare? If so, it might be Matthew Henry’s Commentary on the Bible or the Hebrew text of the Old Testament to stimulate my mind. Music, what a hard one, I am torn between Mamma Mia, Parry’s I was Glad and the whole soundtrack of Les Miserables. Perhaps that could be my luxury item or a soft pillow!

Click here to find out more about how you can join Rosalind as a Steward.

Sara-Jane Socha

Behind the Scenes Tour Guide

How and when did you start volunteering in the Abbey?

In the summer of 2017 I retired from teaching History and managing university applications in a girls' boarding school. I soon realised I missed researching history and working with people and fortunately saw an article in The Bath Magazine about the Footprint project, asking for volunteers to research ledgerstones.  Within six months I took on a wider role stewarding and last autumn began to train as a 'behind the scenes' guide.

What does your role typically involve?

As a 'behind the scenes' guide I need to be at the Abbey before the scheduled tour to check recent building work, kit myself out in PPE and set out props for the tour. For just over an hour we take visitors on the tour, introducing Footprint, explaining the importance of the ledgerstones and the work to preserve them. After putting PPE, they go with us to see the floor renovations and new underfloor heating, we walk to the Sally Strachey yard outside the Abbey and finish the tour back inside. Lots of interesting questions get asked along the way and it is always great fun to explain this exciting project.

What do you enjoy best about Abbey life?

It is fascinating to have the opportunity to gain an increasing understanding of the role of Bath Abbey today and in past centuries:  its religious life, its work in the community, the ongoing changes to the architecture and furnishings of the Abbey, its role as a cemetery and in Bath society.

What character trait do you most admire in your fellow volunteers and why?

Volunteers have a range of great attributes but the enthusiasm they show stands out; for example, in researching the people named on wall plaques and ledgerstones and studying architectural features in order to make themselves expert stewards and guides who are able to answer a whole host of visitors' questions. Their enthusiasm is contagious and they are generous in sharing their knowledge with other guides.

If you were stranded on a deserted island and could only bring one book, one piece of music and one luxury item, what would they be and why?

A book that will need time and concentration on a deserted island is the prize winning new book by Peter Marshall, 'Heretics and Believers, A History of the Reformation', a key area of interest for me. The music would definitely be Canon in D by Paschelbel. As I love swimming, the luxury item would be a good snorkel to explore the sea life around the island!

Click here to find out more about how you can join Sara-Jane as a Behind the Scenes Tour Guide.