When I retired after forty years in broadcasting, I wanted to use my time to do something worthwhile in my local community. I was particularly interested in the administration of justice so I became a police service volunteer and had various placements for my local police force. Then I saw that Bedfordshire’s Coroner services were moving to Ampthill, where I live, and asked my police volunteer coordinator whether I could have a placement there. After all, most coroners’ officers are former police. But hearing nothing back, I decided to do my own investigation and found that CCSS had just been recruiting volunteers and it was the closing date! I immediately rang, left a message on the voicemail, and within 24 hours was having my interview, and within three weeks my training.
We are very fortunate in having a very well organised and friendly court, and a great volunteer leader. Six of us all trained together and have become good friends who see each other socially as well.
I have found my work in the court the most satisfying and rewarding thing I have ever done. A friendly greeting, an explanation of court procedures, and a sympathetic presence during the inquest, can make all the difference to grieving families. We can’t take away their grief, but we can soften a day which many people dread and regard as an ordeal. And when they thank you for all your help when they leave, it gives you a warm glow that you’ve been able to do something really worthwhile.