AVEBURY Manor celebrated the work of its volunteers at a garden party when 22 people received long service awards. Each year hundreds of volunteers give their time freely to help keep the Avebury stone circles, museum and manor open to the public, and over 85 of them were at the event.

Mary Wickenden, volunteer co-ordinator for the National Trust, Wiltshire Landscape, said: "Our volunteers are fantastic. They are dedicated, reliable and most of all, passionate about what they do – we couldn’t ask for better. I’ve met a super group of people that I now call friends and I enjoy working somewhere a little different. In fact, although I still volunteer here, I occasionally get asked to act as assistant house manager – so it’s turned into a part-time job as well."

With over 300,000 visitors a year, the National Trust site at Avebury takes a lot of looking after. The volunteers do everything from greeting people in the landscape, leading guided walks, to bringing history to life in the manor and museum.

Some dedicate an hour a week, whilst others spend several days each week giving their time. Some say they like giving something back, while others do it for the friendships they make.

"It was a thoroughly enjoyable evening,"said Philip Brown, a volunteer at Avebury Manor. "We really appreciate the Trust doing this, it was great.

"Having retired early I became a little bored. I'm interested in history and have been visiting Avebury for over 30 years, so when I saw they were looking for volunteers I decided to join."

To find out more about becoming a National Trust volunteer contact Mary on 01672 538017.