From greeting visitors as they take their first steps into the building, to leading guided tours around our blockbuster exhibitions; from helping preserve the Heritage Collection, to lending a hand at special events – we’re yet to throw anything at our volunteers that they can’t seem to handle.

And we’re getting suspicious. So we’ve had a chat with some of them to get to the bottom of what’s so great about volunteering at The Lightbox, anyway. Here’s what they had to say...

Brigitte Wasdell, who has been with us for 6 years, with Walking Madonna by Elisabeth Frink © The Lightbox

Firstly, we asked them why they do it…

'I have a lifelong and deep passion for art, music, poetry, literature and gardens, and through my volunteering at The Lightbox, I have found a great opportunity to convey and share my enthusiasm for all the aforementioned and to hopefully inspire visitors, for many of whom it is a first opportunity to come close to art.'

'The Lightbox provides welcome opportunities to enjoy both the works on show and, just as importantly, the company of "kindred spirits", both among our visitors and fellow volunteers. The Lightbox is actively engaged in many worthwhile community projects and, as a volunteer, one is contributing in a small way to them, which is very satisfying.'

'I believe my life would be poorer without giving and reaching out to other people. I find volunteering, particularly in the field connected to art and heritage, is most fulfilling. The connection with The Lightbox and its visitors mean a great deal to me, and every day is an opportunity to learn something new.'

'The laughter and fun is unparalleled – there is such a great sense of belonging and I love being useful! Without doubt, the fact that it has led to new close friendships with other volunteers and visitors has made it even more worthwhile – at a time of life when one’s social circle tends to shrink!'

Volunteer engaging young minds in Storytelling for Under 5s © The Lightbox

Then we quizzed them on their favourite exhibitions…

'Anything involving The Ingram Collection. I find its sheer diversity captivating and as art collections go, pretty unique.'

'It’s got to be Picasso: Paper & Clay supported by Lee Miller: Picasso Portraits and Four Days with Picasso. All three Picasso exhibitions were so varied and fascinating. I am interested in the diversity of medium artists, such as Picasso, used and experimented with to further their ideas of making. The graphic works in Paper & Clay demonstrate Picasso’s remarkable progress and diversity over 70 years, while the ceramics show his inventiveness and imagination in a totally different medium. The other two exhibitions gave a unique insight into Picasso, the man.'

'Henry Moore: Sculpting from Nature. Being able to see objects from nature and how Moore used them to influence his work was fascinating. The number of visitors who said, ‘Now I get Henry Moore!'

Other favourites included: Turner in Surrey, Leonardo da Vinci, Warhol and the World of Pop Art, The Nicholsons and their Circle, Quentin Blake: Inside Stories, Damien Hirst: New Religion, amongst numerous other past exhibitions.

Our lovely volunteers enjoying the 2019 Volunteers Party thrown in their honour © The Lightbox

And lastly, we said thank you!

It goes without saying that The Lightbox would not quite be the stimulating and bustling cultural hub that it is today without the unwavering support of our friendly volunteers.

We would like to thank each and every one of the vibrant and friendly faces that sacrifice their time to come and help us at The Lightbox so dedicatedly. Saying this, we are always keen to welcome new volunteers to the team, so if you are interested in volunteering at The Lightbox, what are you waiting for?

Please read the Volunteer Role Description, fill out an application form and return it to Julie Hynes to get started.

With special thanks to Marilyn Beale, Wendy Blows, Jim Davies, Di Farndale, Diana Freeman, Howard Hopper, Linn Hunter, Brenda Martin, Brian Price, Elaine Slatter, Margaret Smith, John Stride, Alan Wasdell and Brigitte Wasdell for sharing their volunteering experiences, and for all their hard work.