Amanda Johnson, Nene Park Volunteer

Meet Amanda Johnson, one of our Nene Park Trust volunteers who has started volunteering as a Guide Leader at Longthorpe Tower. We asked her about her volunteering experience and here's what she has to share.

What made you want to volunteer at Longthorpe Tower?

I think it is a fascinating place and it is a great privilege to participate as a member of the team of volunteer guides.

What do you enjoy most about volunteering at the Tower?

It is very rewarding to watch visitors engage with the stories told by the pictures as they are interpreted and explained by the volunteer guides.

Do you have a favourite painting in the Tower?

That is a difficult one to answer as the paintings are so diverse, and obviously some are better preserved than others.  I think probably I would go for King David on the ceiling playing his harp because the detail is so exquisite.

What have been the benefits to you of volunteering at the Tower?

I have still so much to learn but it is the sort of place that inspires me to acquire more knowledge and understanding of the time period in history when the paintings were made - I guess you can teach an old dog new tricks and it’s nice to know my grey matter still functions.  It is very satisfying to help visitors learn and appreciate what an amazing place our tower is.  And, of course, I really enjoy being part of a team of like-minded enthusiastic people. 

What would you say to anyone thinking of volunteering?

Come and join us!  The tower is an amazing place and it is wonderful to have the opportunity to share it with visitors, both locals and those from distant places who are all so interesting to meet. 

Longthorpe Tower is the surviving part of a 14th century medieval Manor House. It contains the finest set of medieval wall paintings in a domestic setting in Western Europe. English Heritage cares for the Tower, with the day to day management of visits organised by Nene Park Trust.

Volunteer Guide Leaders lead tours of the Tower at weekends from April to October, bringing the Tower to life for small groups of visitors. We currently have a friendly group of 16 Volunteer Guide Leaders and we are looking for more people to join this role. If you enjoy history this is the role for you. You do not need to have any previous knowledge about Longthorpe Tower, or medieval history; we have resources, cue cards and experienced volunteers to learn from that will support you to become a Guide Leader. Guide Leaders usually volunteer for a morning or afternoon once or twice a month (or more often if they choose to), with two volunteers on duty for each session.

We also have opportunities for Volunteer Conservation Housekeepers at the Tower. This role involves protecting and cleaning the Tower, preserving the building and paintings for visitors. This role requires sensitivity to the site as it is a historic site that needs to be carefully maintained. Conservation Housekeepers receive relevant training and volunteer once a month on a weekday for a few hours.

If you are interested in applying to volunteer at Longthorpe Tower or would just like some more information, please email [email protected] or call Clare Stamp (Volunteer Officer at Nene Park Trust) on 07554 745784.

To find out more about the Tower please visit the page on our website https://www.nenepark.org.uk/longthorpe-tower