Sinclair Holm - minding the shop
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“I score very low on the geek scale, but I find volunteering in the shop very satisfying and I know I am contributing to a worthwhile cause,” says Sinclair Holm, who you’ll find in the Museum’s coffee shop on Thursday afternoons.
“I first came across the Museum six years ago through my U3A (University of the Third Age) Computer Group. We held our meetings in Block H and a few of us volunteered to help the growing museum. Although I used to work in technology, I am not in the same league as most of the other technical experts, so I volunteered to work in the shop.
“I run the shop every Thursday. It involves selling lots of drinks, snacks and merchandise to students in school groups and general visitors. I really enjoy it. I think the key skills are the ability to keep calm and to be able to dispense bonhomie along with the tea and coffee!
“By the time visitors get to the shop they have been round the Museum, so I get the debrief and often have a good chat. I get a thrill out of their reactions – they are usually very impressed by the Museum and the people in it.
“I sometimes get to listen in on some media interviews that happen in the shop. I especially liked the story of one former ATS lady who had worked on Tunny and was speaking on the day of the official opening of the new exhibit. She said she had never been able to talk about her experience at BP for decades and when she went for a job straight after the war, she had to be very vague about what she had done. She said the interviewers just thought she was stupid and didn’t offer her the job!
“I’m retired now and volunteering in the shop gives me something quite different to do each week that I know is worthwhile. Everyone around the Museum is very pleasant, so it’s a good environment to be a volunteer in. I’d certainly recommend it.”