8 Reasons To Volunteer

When not working on Martin Baker’s ejector seats, my Grandad Alan designed this fruit pick. He subsequently made 5 more for the apple trees we used to have growing in our garden in Lyne.

My Dad was advised to advertise the picker nationally, so ran adverts in The Field magazine, Telegraph and Countrylife, @£9.95 incl p&p.

On Monday, 7 orders arrived, Tuesday 40 and by Wednesday the postman delivered a huge sack of 700 orders and it didn’t stop, endless sacks. We spent the next year trying to get on top of them, enlisting the help of friends and family and working out of our green shed.

My sister Kay and I were in charge of boxing and taping, we were eight and six at the time in 1979.

“What about your Mother having to make them in the shed until 12 o’clock at night” (added after my mum read this blog!)

The first year was the best, then the idea was copied and advertising, insurances, time etc became too high for it to be sustainable and profitable.

In the meantime, my dad continued to work in his shop in Putney and my mum ran a ‘humane animal trapping sideline/plan B mail order business from home, which was quite ahead of its time too.

My sister in Dad’s shop c. 1990

My daughter and I love our annual pilgrimage to the Rosamund Community Garden Open Day in Guildford, where each year we get involved with pressing their apple harvest. Ellie spotted a red apple picker and asked whether that was the one her great-grandad had designed, it wasn’t, however it prompted me to write this update.

red apple picker

Below is a video I made in 2017 of the garden event, which includes an interview with Joanna, one of the volunteers -


My daughter and I really enjoy this day out, it's a special day for everyone who attends. We also appreciate John, one of the gentlest, kindest human beings we’ve ever met, much like her Great Grandad, who she never did.

Ellie with John in 2019 with the Vigo Apple Presser

And Finally

8 Reasons To Volunteer

Have you ever considered volunteering or getting involved with a community project? People do it for all sorts of different reasons, here’s eight I’ve discovered:

  1. give back to the community
  2. make a difference
  3. learn and develop new skills.
  4. meet new people
  5. good for your health, more here
  6. career-boosting
  7. real-world experiences
  8. make new connections

I’ve also mapped this out as a published journey in Thortspace -

This is a link for more community volunteering ideas in the Surrey area.

And A Bit More Finally

Each month, I also host a number of face-to-face and virtual community events for people to gather, learn, share and have fun, you might like to join in with one or two.

It’s good to have you here.

Thank you

Jane x




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