Harold Gratton – Volunteer Watch Assistant



Harold Gratton



How long have you been volunteering for the Trust?

I have been volunteering since 2006. My very first experience on the ship was as a teacher accompanying a school Trophy team in 2001. On this trip one of the crew members planted a seed in my mind that was to develop a few years later.

What prompted you to want to volunteer for us?

A few things seemed to fall into place. Firstly, after getting students on the ship and all coming back to school ‘buzzing’ with good stories the seed planted started to germinate and I started asking myself why they should have all the fun. Secondly, I noted that the ship was to visit Picton so this gave more incentive and I decided that the time was probably right to give it a go.

What do you love most about volunteering?

My number one reason is the response of the trainees and the growth that we can engender in them, which is the prime reason that I continue to be an active part of the ‘Spirit Family’. It is also interesting to meet and get to know other volunteers from a wide variety of backgrounds and from many different walks of life.

What would you say to someone considering volunteering for us?

I would definitely say - ‘go for it’. The only qualification that you require is the ability to relate to teenagers and a real desire to work with them. I have a feeling that my teenage fixes (40 at a time) help to keep me young! Don’t worry if you are short on sailing/ship knowledge as this can be learned on the job. Both permanent crews are easy to work with and very helpful to newcomers. You will learn new things but the real buzz comes from working with trainees and in seeing changes in them – a lot of these changes are quite subtle but we do see an occasional breakthrough with a trainee ready to make a positive change in direction.