It is National Volunteers’ Week and we are joining in Didcot’s celebrations of volunteering, as well as celebrating our own achievement in gaining the Queen’s Award for Volunteering.

Volunteers’ Week takes place on June 1 to 7 every year and is an opportunity to celebrate volunteering in all its diversity and say thank you for the fantastic contribution millions make across the UK.

On Saturday, June 2, Didcot Railway Centre is joining in the fun with Didcot: Get on Board, a showcase event at Cornerstone, run in partnership with Didcot First and Didcot Rotary Club, where more than 35 organisations are looking for a wide range of volunteers to 'get on board' with their activities.

The event is open to everyone to have a look around and a chat with those who already volunteer in the town.

We will also have our own event to encourage volunteers to get on board.

As well as a stand in Cornerstone we will be welcoming visitors interested in volunteering to Didcot Railway Centre. Betty will be in our enquiry office ready to welcome new volunteers and explain the opportunities available.

We are offering anyone who signs up (at the centre or in Cornerstone) the chance of a footplate ride on the engine.

Didcot Railway Centre has become the leading Great Western Railway preservation centre through the efforts of our volunteers.

Our activities range from the restoration and repair of our historic engines, coaches and wagons, and operating them on the demonstration lines; signalling; educating children and young people through the science and learning centre; displaying collections in the museum; all supported by site development and track work, gardening and catering – to name but a few of the opportunities that await you.

Although in some areas we do need experienced volunteers with specialised skills, do not be put off by thinking that you are unqualified, as we also provide full training for whichever job you choose to do. We realise that everyone has a different amount of uncommitted time - the amount of time you spend with us depends on you. Some activities take place regularly every week or fortnight; others, such as working parties, are programmed and advertised in the newsletter. Operating staff are rostered over a year, usually a minimum of ten days per year.

While volunteers in some areas must be members of the Great Western Society, this is not a requirement for staffing the shop, ticket office, museum or office.

So whether you're retired, young, or have a day job, a warm welcome awaits you.