It just wouldn’t be Christmas in Derbyshire without the National Trust decking its historic halls in fabulous festive style, hosting carols, Christmas fairs, festive craft workshops, and even Father Christmas himself.
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Whether it’s garland making, mince pie baking, hanging thousands of fairy lights, or stepping into the pointed shoes of one of Fathers Christmas's elves, it’s the National Trust’s volunteers who bring its places to life at Christmas time.
Once again, the Trust is thanking its teams of volunteers for helping create another year of wonderful festive experiences for visitors to enjoy at its places.
With over 30 National Trust properties across the Midlands opening over December, it takes thousands of people willing to give up their free time to transform these historic houses, create festive activities and bring a little bit of Christmas joy to every visitor.
From dressing 20-feet tall Christmas trees, to crafting delicate Christmas decorationsm researching how Christmas was celebrated in the past, to shuttling visitors to and from Father Christmas’ grotto, volunteers are vital for every one of the National Trust’s open days of Christmas.
At Hardwick near Chesterfield, volunteer Barbara Wilson is part of the team preparing the hall for its Christmas opening this year where she is creating a scale cardboard model of the hall which will be lit up for visitors to enjoy as the day darkens. Hand crafted entirely by Barbara, the model took over a month to complete.
Phil Royle is a volunteer at Kedleston Hall with a particularly special part to play at Christmas time – as a signing Father Christmas. Phil, who retired from teaching after 36 years, said: “The most wonderful part of this role is bringing the magic of Christmas to children and families and sharing the wonder of the season with them. We treat all our Christmas visitors as special and we give them the space and time to immerse themselves in the experience. It is a great privilege to be a part of a team which brings so much joy to our visitors both young and not so young!”
Barbara and Phil are amongst 2500 National Trust volunteers in Derbyshire, out of a total of 11,500 National Trust volunteers from across the Midlands who gifted over 965,000 hours of their time last year to help keep their local Trust places thriving.
Rachel Mora-Bannon, the National Trust’s Volunteering and Participation Consultant in the Midlands, said: “From getting in to Christmas character, creating dazzling decorations to welcoming our visitors, volunteers support every aspect of Christmas at our places. A huge amount of care and effort goes into getting our places ready for Christmas as we try to reflect the history of each property through our Christmas preparations. We’re really grateful to our teams of tireless volunteers who help make this time of year so special, and memorable for everyone.”
Find out more about volunteering at your local National Trust place by visiting: https://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/volunteer
For full details of Christmas with the National Trust in Derbyshire, visit: https://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/lists/christmas-in-derbyshire