News News Getting to know our team... Victoria Speirs Victoria joins us as Marketing and Communications Officer from Action for Carers Surrey, a charity supporting unpaid carers of all ages, and she has experience working with charities both as staff and as a volunteer. Before that, she worked in publishing for many years, switching to working more locally in the charity sector after her daughter was born. She's looking forward to bringing West Horsley Place to a wider audience, and exposing the variety of what's happening here. We caught up with Victoria to get to know her better. Q- What was your first visit here like? A- I first came to West Horsley Place on a sharp sunny day last November, when the turning leaves were the same fabulous colour as the glowing brickwork. I thought it was irresistible and would be a wonderful place to be part of. Q- What made you want to join the team? A- West Horsley Place chimes with many of my own interests; I studied history at university and in fact, when I was 16, I was a volunteer steward in a much smaller timber-framed house. But the other facets of what we do appeal to me too, with performances in our gardens and arts and crafts events. I’m keen to show them off to as many people as possible and encourage everyone to come and enjoy West Horsley Place too. There’s so much to tell about West Horsley Place and so many aspects to enjoy. The house and other buildings are certainly beautiful, and the history of the house is even richer than I had first realised. It’s an exciting moment to join because the whole project is still young. This year we should be able to open up again even more than last year, and can look forward to so many more activities, some long-planned, like the visit from ‘Globe on Tour’ and others quite new, like our BioBlitz nature survey. Q- What is your favourite room/space at WHP and why? A- I haven’t explored all of the house yet but I am charmed by the fact that although it’s a big house, the rooms are quite intimate. I also love the views out of the windows, such as going from the Stone Parlour into the garden. I’ve never been involved with an estate before, and I surprised myself by being excited by that. I live in the middle of Guildford and I’m a natural townie, but it is wonderful to be able to walk so freely. I was delighted to see our roe deer. At the moment there are signs of spring everywhere, with wild daffodils, violets and primroses popping up. You can enjoy our estate and gardens casually just as a lovely walk, or a relaxing place to be, or you can really get involved, as we’ll be doing at our BioBlitz event on 14th May, when we aim to identify and record as many plant and animal species on the estate as we can over 24 hours. Q- What talent would you most like to possess? I admire people who are really creative. I can knit and sew a bit but I don’t have any real craft skills. On the other hand, with our plans for a pottery this summer, this could be my chance to learn. Q- What makes you most excited in WHPT's vision for the future? A- I think the Trust’s vision, originating of course with Bamber and Christina Gascoigne, of making West Horsley Place a welcoming space for everyone is genuinely inspiring. Because of the breadth of what we offer already and our future plans, in such a lovely setting, there really is something in our vision of arts, culture, community, history and nature for everyone to enjoy. Having discovered West Horsley Place myself, I’m delighted to have a role in sharing it with a wider world.