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70 By the Dart • Dartmouth at Work


when I moved to Dartmouth a couple of years ago I thought I have to get involved somehow. People who come here want to be here; it’s a fun cultural place with a great team who run and support it. The volunteers are well looked after. Recently we were treated to a free film and nibbles night and we were sent lovely invi- tations thanking us for all our hard work.


Are there any downsides? There can be a bit of tidying up to do after a film; picking up the glasses and sweet wrappers that have been left on the floor. Sometimes being a steward is a lovely experience where you don’t have to do anything except sit and watch a film for free but other times you’re constantly up and down helping people see their way out to the toilet or sweeping up if someone breaks a glass. One of my colleagues had to help someone who was sick – there are definitely ups and downs!


How many hours do you give each week?


Anywhere between four and 16 depending what is on and what they need me for. I also help update the website and the leaflets which are published three times a year.


Can anyone be a volunteer? Absolutely, we have all ages from grand- parents to 16 year olds. The younger ones come and do work experience with us during school holidays which we enjoy. If you are working on the box office you need to learn the computer system but it isn’t difficult and the existing team of volunteers show you everything you need to know. We are a patient bunch.


What did you do for a living? I used to be a teacher in London. I taught six and seven year olds for 20 years.


Did you have an alternative career lined up? I was involved with the drama society at university. Our play was due to perform at the Edinburgh Festival and I couldn’t go. I always wonder what might have happened if I had gone. Maybe I would have been the next Judi Dench!


If you were a colour in a cray- on box which one would you be and why? Well what a question! I think I would be a bright blue one because it’s like the sky and the sea and makes me think of Dartmouth.


What is your guilty pleasure? Well... dates I guess, if dried fruit can be a guilty pleasure! I had them at Christmas and now I’m obsessed!


Steve Williams - Volunteer


What is your main role at the Flavel?


I look after the air-conditioning, yes really! My wife Rose and I also run Flavel Friends. It’s a very popular scheme where people pay £20 a year (or £35 for a couple) and get various benefits like priority booking. We currently have over 700 friends. I also do film stewarding and work in the box office.


What is the weirdest question you have been asked on front desk?


There are too many to pick! Where is the nearest rubbish tip? How long can I park my car outside? When is the last ferry back to Kingswear? I particularly liked it when a man I’d never met before came in and asked me if his brother-in-law would like the film we were showing that day!


When did you get involved with the Flavel?


Rose and I were involved before it was even built. We helped with various fundraising projects and then joined as volunteers in 2006.


What makes you and your wife give so much of your time to the Flavel?


I think the town benefits enormously from the facility and we want to do all we can to keep it in tip-top condition.


It’s a wonderful venue with a fantastic atmosphere and there really is some- thing for everyone. I run the U3A Classical History Group. That takes up quite a bit of my time as I arrange for speakers to come in and talk to the group. We get some interesting people like a chap from the Met Office who spoke about the climate in classical times. Rose organises a fun dance session on a Thursday where women can come and let their hair down – you don’t have to be any good, it’s just a chance to shake it out towards the end of the week.


Are you still working?


No, I’m retired now but I used to run an air-conditioning business – hence my involvement with the plant here at the Flavel.


If you and Rose could eat anywhere in the world this evening, no expense spared, where would you go?


Well, it sounds like a lovely offer but we aren’t really into posh dining so it wouldn’t be the Ritz or anything. We love the Porthminster Kitchen in St Ives but here in Dartmouth it’s hard to beat an Indian meal at Spice Bizaar.


What can’t you live without?


Just on a practical level, my penknife! I have had it for 25 years and take it everywhere. I use it for opening box-


es and, more importantly, opening wine! Also for tightening up screws and getting my water meter box open. There’s a pair of scissors and tweezers for splinters! All very useful.


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