With a strong fascination with local history, as soon as she retired Sue Corbel started volunteering with Jersey Heritage, first behind the scenes at the Archive in Clarence Road and then as a Visitor Host at Elizabeth Castle – welcoming and assisting visitors. But soon Sue was also stitching the 13th panel of the Occupation Tapestry, created as a community project to mark the 70th anniversary of Liberation and now on display in the Occupation Tapestry Gallery next to the Maritime Museum. The German Occupation is an important subject in Susan’s life – she painstakingly transcribed and recently published her father Philip Le Sauteur’s Diary of Jersey under the Swastika.
In 2016 Susan started volunteering as a Guide at Elizabeth Castle, giving Tours of the whole site with a history that spans several centuries. In 2016 Sue researched and wrote the script for a Tour of the Barracks Hospital Block which is the last remaining example in the UK and has been made accessible to visitors for the first time in several years. Last year Susan continued to do more research about births and deaths at the Castle, which entailed spending time at the Lord Coutanche Library, the Archive and the Registrar’s Office looking at records, which she described as “a fascinating insight”. This year Sue will once again be enthusiastically providing free Tours of Elizabeth Castle on Mondays.
Astra & Derek Denton
This is a husband and wife who both volunteer with Jersey Heritage and together make a really great team!
Astra Denton is a costumed Living History re-enactor who demonstrates needlecraft skills – quilting and Jersey bonnet-making – on Friday mornings at Hamptonne. Astra also regularly works alongside Derek, who is a craftsman woodworker, in an award-winning team of volunteers supervised by Luke Winter of Historic Concepts Limited, who over two years built a replica Neolithic Longhouse at La Hougue Bie. The construction process involved use of traditional hand tools, authentic techniques and a lot of hard work. Now complete, the Longhouse is providing a unique educational resource for the Island.
Volunteers are continuing to maintain the building, interpreting it for visitors and demonstrating skills including making pottery, weaving and woodwork.
Inspired by his parents’ commitment, Astra and Derek’s son Christopher has also signed up as a Neolithic longhouse volunteer.
As a multi-talented volunteer, Derek has used his photographic skills to record individual coins from the Iron Age coin hoard at La Hougue Bie. He has also helped to restore the interactive dolls house in the Merchants’ House Nursery at Jersey Museum, by providing a replacement front door, and is one of the cider makers at La Faîs’sie d’Cidre at Hamptonne. This year he is helping JH to be more “green” by converting wooden barrels for use as bins to collect used plastic bottles and aluminium cans for recycling.
Edward Le Couteur
A keen archaeologist and talented artist, Edward Le Couteur has volunteered with Jersey Heritage for the past five years. Edward began volunteering as a Visitor Host - at Jersey Museum and at La Hougue Bie - giving visitors a warm welcome, information and help. In 2016 Edward was a Guide for the Ice Age Island exhibition at Jersey Museum and each summer he has escorted visitors to the archaeological dig at Les Varines, explaining the importance of the IAI project - the site and the finds.
Edward has also enthusiastically helped to build the Neolithic longhouse and although in paid employment regularly volunteers five days a week. Edward has also trained to be a Guide at La Hougue Bie, learning a script so that he can explain the site’s fascinating history that spans several millennia – from the 6,000 year old Neolithic tomb to the medieval chapel, when the site was a Victorian pleasure garden and the memorial to those labourers who were forced to work during the German Occupation 1940-45.
Volunteering with Jersey Heritage has helped to increase Edward’s knowledge about the history of his native island, his practical skills and also his confidence.
A retired secondary school teacher specialising in Information Technology, crafts and woodwork, Dave has been volunteering with Jersey Heritage since 2015 in several roles.
“My thanks go to my friend Noel Le Fondré, a Jersey Heritage volunteer who introduced me to the cider making team. For just two days a year, a small, friendly team of hard-working Jersey Heritage volunteers carry and crush apples, press the pulp and ferment rough cider in the “old” traditional way at La Faîs’sie d’Cidre, which takes place annually in October at Hamptonne Country Life Museum.
I first empathised with Stone Age man (and woman) when I designed and built my own house by the Thames in the 1980s. The satisfaction of protecting your family from the elements and putting a roof over their heads with your own hands cannot be beaten. So the chance to volunteer to help a team build a replica Neolithic longhouse was too good to miss - especially as along the project you meet such interesting and fascinating individuals, all with different skills. Our leader Luke Winter encourages so many questions about ancient techniques. As well as new skills and knowledge most of us have developed friendships.
Over two years we have spent approximately one week per month (with hours to suit individuals) at La Hougue Bie. Based on sound historical and archaeological evidence we try to replicate methods employed in Neolithic times. It’s amazing that a sharpened cow’s bone can cut a groove one inch deep in solid oak timber almost as quickly as with a steel chisel. This has to be seen to be believed! Using wooden wedges will split a mature oak tree trunk into planks one foot wide and two inches thick. I have also witnessed team members using stinging nettles to make rope, and even cloth, and have experienced bending a willow stick around my finger before binding rafters together with a rose knot. So many ancient technologies often forgotten…
My volunteering includes being a Site Guide, taking small groups around Hamptonne and explaining its history, and a Visitor Host welcoming and helping visitors at West Park ferry kiosk and Elizabeth Castle. Apart from the benefit of good exercise, walking around I now see Jersey in a different light, meeting tourists who appreciate our lovely Island. It’s great to feel part of the Jersey Heritage team, meeting and interacting with staff e.g. the ferry crew and Living History re-enactors including Gunners and 1781 Militia guys and girls, and other volunteer Guides - all with amazing interests and depth of knowledge.
Volunteering with Jersey Heritage gets me away from daytime TV and the sofa! Not to mention the volunteer card, a reward for volunteering which enables me to visit Jersey Heritage sites for free.”