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Volunteer spirit needed to ensure Preston Guild 2012 goes to plan

Posted on - 30th January, 2012 - 10:00am | Author - | Posted in - News, Preston Guild
street party

Hosting a street party is just one way you can volunteer for the Preston Guild

Preston needs a team of over 500 volunteers to help make the Guild happen.

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Over a million visitors are expected to be welcomed to the city and more than 100 events will take place – but Preston City Council is calling on people to get into the voluntary spirit.

With deep cuts being imposed by central government, the council has committed £2m to the Guild budget but will rely on local people to step up to the challenge of putting on the Guild.

Volunteer opportunities will include being part of live TV broadcasts, helping out at festivals and being part of welcome teams.

Leader of Preston City Council, Peter Rankin, said: “Becoming a Guilder is a fantastic opportunity to develop skills, meet new friends and, more importantly, play an active and vital part in shaping Guild history.

“It’s a celebration of the people of Preston and we are calling on residents, businesses and groups to take up the challenge and help make this another Guild to remember.”

More than 150 people are already signed up to help out and have already contributed over 3,000 hours during the course of 2011.

To volunteer you can log on to the Preston Guild website and fill in an application form.

Your Guild volunteering stories

We spoke to some Prestonians who are already getting in the Guild spirit:

The woman behind the tweets: Social media volunteer Claire Piela

claire pielaYou might think the Guild twitter feed is run by a marketing professional from the council’s PR team, but you’d be wrong – it’s actually two Prestonians putting out the social media messages about the Guild.

Claire Piela, who lives in Ashton, wanted to get involved in the Guild and not “sit on the sidelines” so she volunteered to save money on expensive social media consultants and get stuck in.

She said: “It’s been really eye-opening to see how much goes on behind the scenes. Myself and another person run all the social media, so we post the updates on Twitter and Facebook and reply to comments and stuff. We also re-tweet things about the Guild.”

Ms Piela, who works for the charity Common Purpose, has a PR qualification and was looking for something to volunteer with outside of work.

“I wanted to offer up my skills to the Guild,” she said, “and it saves a bit of money because we’re able to do it for them. I think it’s better because we’re just tweeting as us, rather than being someone official from the team. But obviously we will run any questions we have past someone at the Guild before say replying to a question.

“The best thing about volunteering though has been meeting so many people, and getting to know lots of different people and also Preston. And I’ve now got involved in helping organise the Guild Marathon because I do a lot of running. You wouldn’t believe the effort that goes into it all!”

Piecing together Preston’s industrial past: Guilder David Jackson

For over six months, retired senior purchasing manager David Jackson has been rolling up his sleeves and getting stuck in to the Guild events.

He’s helping to research Preston’s industrial heritage for a project called ‘My Dad Made Cars’. It will culminate in a show in September at the BAC Sports & Social Club where former engineers and others involved in Preston’s heavy industry tell how they plied their trade.

Mr Jackson said: “I worked for what is now known as BAE for 30 years and it is such a big part of the city I thought it should be documented.

“We’ve been tracking down old engineers and it’s been fascinating finding out about all the things that went on back then. One guy brought in this original British Leyland catalogue and showed all the different lines.”

Now retired and living in Ribbleton, Mr Jackson has been on training courses so he can get heavily involved in the Guild.

“It’s a chance to do something for the city,” he said, “and just think you can tell your children and grandchildren ‘I was part of the team who made the Guild happen’.

“I think this is going to be a great Guild and I really hope the Queen could come for it. She gave us our city status and I think it’d be grand if she came back to visit.”

Delivering the Guild scrolls to London: Paul and Karen Edmondson

After managing to miss the last three Preston Guilds, Paul Edmondson felt it was time to get involved in 2012.

Living in Fulwood and retired after 30 years in the police, Mr Edmondson and his wife Karen, have been involved in helping spread the Guild word at various events.

He said: “Riversway, egg rolling, we’ve been at them all in the last year to tell people about the Guild and get people involved.

“I was born just after the 52 Guild and then I was working 72 and 92 so I missed them both. I felt now is my time to do it.”

Mr Edmondson found himself heading for London soon after signing up to volunteer, to get Lord Coe’s signature on the Guild scrolls.

“It was a great honour,” he says, “we had a great day down in London and went to Canary Wharf to the Olympic organisers head office and met Lord Coe. He was the first person to sign the scrolls, it was really good.”

Mr Edmondson now plans to throw himself into the Guild spirit and called on others to do the same.

He said: “I just want to see everyone doing something. It doesn’t matter how big or small, don’t miss out on this because it will make Preston proud.”

Blog Preston is backing the Preston Guild and you can read our comment piece on why Preston needs to step up to the task of the making sure the 2012 Guild is the best ever.

How are you getting involved in the Guild? Let us know in the comments below or if you’ve got a Guild project or story taking place make sure you email us [email protected] with the details.

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