Volunteers Week at HMS Unicorn

This week (1st – 7th June) has been Volunteers’ Week: a chance to celebrate the contribution made by volunteers across the country. Here at HMS Unicorn there are over 30 volunteers on board in a range of roles; from maintenance to photography (to even writing these blog posts!) All play an important role in keeping HMS Unicorn open. Here are only a few of the amazing people on the ship.

1. Model of HMS Unicorn (c) Rhys Boyle

Rhys Boyle does photography on board.  ‘What I enjoy about the Unicorn is being able to walk on her decks and being able to touch history. It’s a good thing she has survived this long. She’s a snapshot in time of when Britain was about to become the world’s dominant naval power. We should be proud of our navy and its rich history. I really believe we should preserve our maritime heritage. Being an island nation, ships have been the lifeline for us, such as during WWII, without merchant ships and our strong navy, Britain wouldn’t have the supplies to support its military and civilians, without ships, Britain would have lost the war. Volunteering at the Unicorn is a new experience for me to expand my skills and knowledge about photography and to get to be a part of something important.’

Justin Dempster has been Director of Model Restoration for 12 years, although he started on HMS Unicorn way back in 1996. He explains, ‘The models need constant care and attention as most of them are not in cases and visitors often want to touch them – resulting in frequent damage (not to mention the occasional pigeon breaking them!) I find the modelling onboard very rewarding – seeing my work on public display – not many modellers can say that’.     

2. Justin with his model of HMS Unicorn

At nearly 200 years old HMS Unicorn requires ongoing maintenance to keep her afloat. We are lucky to have a voluntary maintenance team led by ship Maintenance Officer Garry.  Rowan, a member of the team, says, ‘I joined the maintenance group through a placement with Project Scotland. I decided to stay on after my placement because I really enjoy it! When I’m on board I mainly scrape paint on the lower decks, clear rubbish from the water which can gather at the front of the ship and I also help with setting up events from time to time.’

3. The Maintenance Team hard at work (c) HMS Unicorn

HMS Unicorn is a fantastic and interesting place to volunteer with lots of diverse roles on board. The ship was delighted to win ‘Best Volunteering Provider (External)’ at the University Of Dundee Volunteering Awards 2019 in May!

For more information on volunteering opportunities contact HMS Unicorn manager on the email address below.


Happy Volunteer’s Week! 

Blog Post by Louise Hurrell, HMS Unicorn Volunteer