A former palaeontologist has proved he is no dinosaur in his retirement by winning a national award for his volunteering work at Tullie.
David Jutson was presented with the ‘Volunteer of the Year’ award at a glitzy ceremony in London after judges heard about his outstanding contribution to Carlisle’s museum and art gallery.
David, who has volunteered at the museum for 18 months, has given up over 400 hours of his time to support the curators with his vast geological experience as well as engaging visitors with his wealth of knowledge.
He makes the three hour round trip twice a week from his home in Egremont to volunteer at the museum, and donates his beautiful handmade jewellery, made from local sea glass, to the shop.
The award was announced at the Museum and Heritage Awards in London by children’s historical fiction author Izzy Lawrence who amongst many credits is known as the co-host of BBC Radio 4’s flagship show, Making History.
David said: “There were six volunteers shortlisted and I really didn’t expect to win as the standard was extremely high. There I was, sat there, in this beautiful and ornate room, Iszy Lawrence was describing the winner and I suddenly realised – that’s me.”
Tullie House director Andrew Mackay said: “We are all so proud of David winning such a prestigious award. He is truly an asset to Tullie House and it’s wonderful that his dedication and exceptional contribution have been recognised.”
It is hoped that David’s success will encourage more people to consider volunteering through the Helping Hands scheme which is being run by Cumbria Museum Consortium.
The two year project aims to take away the barriers to volunteering by providing mentoring, 1-2-1 support and highlighting the dozens of volunteering opportunities on its website.
With 45 partners including The Carnegie Theatre, Workington, The National Trust, Theatre by the Lake, Keswick and Highlights Rural Touring Scheme in Penrith, volunteers will have the opportunity to enhance their skills, start a new career or just meet new people and Helping Hands will be able to give 1-2-1 support and volunteer opportunities shaped around individual’s needs.
Kate Parry, head of partnership at Cumbria Museum Consortium, said: “We are seeing a wide variety of volunteers come forward which is wonderful. I’d like to encourage individuals who may not have considered this route before for whatever reason to come forward and register as our scheme can hold their hand through the process making it pleasurable and rewarding.”
And David certainly agrees that volunteering has benefitted him as much as Tullie.
“Volunteering has undoubtedly brought great satisfaction to my life” he said, adding: “Prior to moving to Cumbria, I had lived abroad for many years and so I knew I wanted to do something that would not only give me great satisfaction but would enable me to meet like-minded people.”
“I really enjoy meeting and talking to the public at Tullie House, and I also really enjoy the camaraderie amongst the staff and other volunteers. I highly recommend volunteering to everyone, not just the retired generation.
There are lots of organisations needing extra help and young people can bring energy, enthusiasm and a fresh outlook that really compliments the experience of older volunteers.”
For more information on volunteering www.helpinghandscumbria.org