Why Volunteer?

Volunteering is often seen as a valuable asset in job and university applications, making you stand out from the crowd.

Being a part of the ‘RNAA family’ is an enjoyable experience, sharing memories with a range of people, gaining skills, expanding horizons and building a network of friends and new contacts.

Want to know what it means to be a steward? Why not hear from some of our current volunteers:

Name: Julie Rainford

Day Job: Business Owner providing freelance HR support to businesses across Norfolk and Suffolk.

What area do you steward?
I have worked as a steward at the Norfolk Show in the Cookery Theatre and Flower and Garden Show and am now working solely in Horticulture, an area which has a whole new look and feel. It’s great to be able to try different things. I’ve also stewarded at the Harfest event which takes place in the Autumn each year in the Cathedral grounds.

What does your stewarding job entail?
My stewarding experiences have been very different. At the Show, it’s a huge team and a huge event, with complex logistics. It starts with receiving a complete handbook which takes you through your role and some important instructions and details to learn. There are briefings and orientations and then the real work starts in your allocated area.
The Cookery Theatre was great fun, meeting the chefs, and the visitors just flocked in keeping us very busy. One minute you were stacking chairs and laying out the room then helping to smooth the way for VIP guests – the real highlight for me was meeting Monty Don!
They are long days on your feet but we are well cared for, fed and watered and have lots of fun too. HarFest was more relaxed, working in a much smaller team with a more informal atmosphere.

Why do you personally volunteer?
I volunteer in a few different ways, some that complement or make direct use of my own skill set and others which just give me a fresh experience. Stewarding at the Show is so very different to my day job as I get to experience things and meet people I wouldn’t ordinarily meet. Having a largely office based job, I love the opportunity to spend two days outside and being a keen gardener, my role this year is a perfect fit. It’s great to be part of such a large event and contribute to the wider RNAA team effort.

What would you say to someone considering becoming an RNAA volunteer?
Why not? I don’t come from Norfolk and I don’t know too much about agriculture, but it really doesn’t mat-ter what your background is or what skills you can bring to the team – we all muck in and find our own ways to contribute. In my day job I meet a lot of people who are keen to develop their skills and achieve that next promotion step – volunteering in any way is a great way to build experience and challenge yourself to work outside of your natural comfort zone from time to time.


Name: Tim Papworth

Day Job: Contract Farmer

What area do you steward?
The Grand Ring

What does your stewarding job entail?
The Grand Ring Steward job requires attention to detail, timeliness, etiquette, resourcefulness and dedication – it is also amazing fun. Every year there are different displays and new people to get to know, I start by contacting them well before the show to build a relationship and because I work closely with each display, I sometimes get asked to do some amazing things like take a ride in a C130 Hercules from Norwich to see the RAF Falcons drop into the Grand Ring and then do a low flypast! I have also been invited to some crazy after show parties with the Kings Troop Royal Horse Artillery and the Household cavalry. Before Health and Safety regulations started hitting the Show, I had the Lings Bolddogs jump over me with their motorbikes and Quad bikes, but I refrained from being shot across the grand ring from the Cannon Ball man’s gun!

Why do you personally volunteer?
I really enjoy the experience and meeting up with like-minded people that I don’t see very often, every year is different and brings a new set of challenges rather like farming and I like to promote the wonderful industry that I work in by giving up some of my time.

What would you say to someone considering becoming an RNAA volunteer?
It’s a great way of meeting new people and it’s a whole new experience that can be challenging at times but very rewarding.


Name: Emily Page

Day Job: Agronomist for Frontier Agriculture

What area do you steward?
Trade Stands

What does your stewarding job entail?
Most people don’t realise that as a trade stand steward we need to be there from when the stands start setting up to make sure they are in the correct place, set up to our high standard and to make sure they have all they need. On the show days itself our role is to ensure both the public and the trade stands get as much as possible out of the show. It is a greatly varied role- some years we have even escorted royalty around the show!

Why do you personally volunteer?
It is great to give something back to an organisation that is such an integral part of Norfolk life.

What would you say to someone considering becoming an RNAA volunteer?
Do not hesitate in offering your time up for the RNAA, on the show days it is fast paced and hard work at times but is a chance to be part of a fantastic team all year round and gives you a new way to see the show.


Name: Stuart Morton

Day Job: I run my own Architectural Design practice and have other small businesses, including a Tea Room in a Garden Centre.

What area do you steward?
I am new to the role of Head Steward, having the pleasure of leading the new Horticultural Area. Previously I was part of the Discovery Zone team.

What does your stewarding job entail?
As head steward my role is to ensure my area is managed in such a way that keeps the whole area running smoothly, looking at it from both a visitor perspective and our trade stands. The aim of a steward I believe is to provide assistance where needed and to go out of one’s way to ensure our visitors have an enjoyable experience and want to come back year after year.

Why do you personally volunteer?
As a Norfolk farmer’s son I have spent many of my formative years going to the Norfolk show as a not to be missed social event in the farming calendar, however I got to a point where I wanted to give something back and have a new experience at the Show, hence becoming a steward.

What would you say to someone considering becoming an RNAA volunteer?
I haven’t been a steward for long, and only wished I had started earlier. You become part of the team that helps to put on one of the biggest Agricultural Shows in the Country and if I had started earlier it would have been a great addition to my CV.