Matt Butler, Visitor Ranger

When I first arrived at the Trust I was employed as a Seasonal Visitor Centre Assistant with a team member called Melanie. I was on a one-year contract to help cover the spring, summer and autumn holidays after just leaving sixth form. I helped the full-time staff price stock, place it on shelves and sell it to the public. After the first year they extended my contract for another year and my job title changed to Visitor Assistant, a more general role to help across the Trust.

At this point I was asked to help at the Nene Outdoors Watersports & Activity Centre reception to sell equipment such as kayaks, canoes and SUPS. This was good fun and the manager down there at the time asked if I wanted to help doing other things too. I accepted and began working on the beach and assisting Devon with teaching and group activities such as raft building.

Nene Park Trust mascot Barney the Bear with children on a bear huntMelanie, who by this time had become our Activities Administrator, asked if anyone wanted to become the Park's mascot - Barney the Bear - after the previous Barney left the Trust. I accepted and started going on Bear Hunts and Teddy Bear Picnics and who doesn’t love a free train journey?

There was then a few staff changes in the Visitor Centre, and I went from being seasonal to full-time. Another lady and I did all the buying and selling and daily running of the Visitor Centre for a year.

visitor ranger assisting a park visitorUntil one day, a vacancy became available on the Park Management team to become a Visitor Ranger. I applied for the role and was successful. For me this was a chance to continue to develop and learn new skills and grow in my new role as a Visitor Ranger.

Now heading into my fourth year as Visitor Ranger, I have been getting more involved with the work programme after receiving training in many areas such as tractors, chipping, mower and strimmer. I have even recently managed to get down to Woodlands in Castor to help with the renovating of the sports pitches there.

I don’t treat it like a Trust, I treat it as a family.