Volunteering at the Egypt Centre
The Egypt Centre’s longest serving volunteer, Hazel Merriman, was recently recognised at the Egypt Centre Volunteer Awards for her outstanding efforts and achievement in support of the Egypt Centre gift shop.
Hazel Merriman, 82, born in 1929 in the Falkland Islands, has been volunteering at the museum for almost 15 years, and until recently volunteered twice a week. Hazel started her volunteering life in 1997 volunteering everyday as a Museum Assistant, doing a little bit of everything, from school parties, to administration to customer care and gallery work.
When asked why she started volunteering, Hazel said: “I’ve always been interested in Ancient Egypt. My high school geography teacher was a part of the excavation team when Tutankhamun’s tomb was opened. When she told the class stories we would all sit round enraptured, it was so quiet as everyone listened - you could hear a pin drop!
“My father was also stationed in Egypt during the war and used to come back home telling us fantastic stories of all the wonderful things he had seen. I’ve still got a bracelet he brought back from Egypt as a present for me.”
Hazel continued volunteering full time while battling cancer until 2006: “After my operation for cancer I lost all my mobility and not all of it came back, but the Egypt Centre really helped with my rehabilitation. It was something to get up for... and I considered myself lucky every time I got up in the morning. I love meeting people there, and chatting away!”
In 2006 Hazel decided to reduce her hours to 2 days a week (still an amazing contribution) to accommodate her new health needs, and has volunteered continuously in the shop until now.
Ashleigh Taylor, the Volunteer Manager said: “Hazel is such a wonderful person, and an inspiration to us all.
"She has had such amazing experiences during her life, and we all love hearing her stories! The Egypt Centre has certainly missed her during her recuperation.“
The Egypt Centre is now looking for new volunteers who wish to work in the gift shop, to take over some of Hazel’s shifts. You don’t need any qualifications, or experience, as the museum will train you, giving you retail, customer service and front of house experience. We will accept anyone over the age of 18 for this position.
Volunteering in the Egypt Centre will help you benefit not just from a great sense of satisfaction and community, but with free training, reduced costs on trips to other museums, as well as confidence in your own lives. Volunteers also get 10% discount in our shop, and a number of other benefits such as pastoral support, careers advice and the support of a full-time Volunteer Manager.
You can volunteer from as little as 1 hour a week, with the usual commitment of 3 hours a week (11 – 2pm). If you are interested in getting involved with the Egypt Centre, application forms are available online www.swan.ac.uk/egypt/volunteers/Intro%20page%201.htm. Alternatively, please contact the Volunteer Manager, Ashleigh Taylor for more information. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Tel: 01792 606065.