Exmouth museum stalwart celebrates landmark birthday

PUBLISHED: 12:00 13 November 2019

100 year old Margaret Sym has been a volunteer for over thirty years at Exmouth Museum. Ref exe 44 19TI 3191. Picture: Terry Ife

100 year old Margaret Sym has been a volunteer for over thirty years at Exmouth Museum. Ref exe 44 19TI 3191. Picture: Terry Ife

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An Exmouth pensioner who has volunteered at the town's museum for the last 30 years has celebrated turning 100.

100 year old Margaret Sym has been a volunteer for over thirty years at Exmouth Museum. Ref exe 44 19TI 3181. Picture: Terry Ife100 year old Margaret Sym has been a volunteer for over thirty years at Exmouth Museum. Ref exe 44 19TI 3181. Picture: Terry Ife

Margaret Pym was joined by trustees and fellow volunteers for a celebration of the landmark birthday, along with mayor Steve Gazzard and town crier Roger Bourgein.

The centenarian, who is the longest-serving volunteer at the museum, said the key to a long life is to 'just get on with it'.

She said: "I have met some difficult people in my life and been through the war and after I got married I decided that if anyone was difficult I just avoided them."

In 1989, Mrs Pym was looking for something to entertain her grandson when she came across the museum, in Sheppards Row.

100 year old Margaret Sym has been a volunteer for over thirty years at Exmouth Museum. Ref exe 44 19TI 3180. Picture: Terry Ife100 year old Margaret Sym has been a volunteer for over thirty years at Exmouth Museum. Ref exe 44 19TI 3180. Picture: Terry Ife

While taking him around the museum, which was run at the time by historian Bill Sleeman, she noticed a sign asking for volunteers with 'no experience and no qualifications necessary'.

Mrs Pym has been a stalwart of the museum since, volunteering her time through the busier summer months.

In that time she has held a number of roles and these days handles money and welcomes visitors to the museum.

Curator John Wakefield paid homage to Mrs Pym, saying she is a 'good example' of what a volunteer should be.

He said: "I would like to thank on behalf of the museum and its volunteers, Mrs Margaret Pym, who is still a valuable active museum steward at the grand age of 100, having been a volunteer for the past 30 years, making her our longest-standing volunteer.

"Margaret has seen the growth of the museum to three galleries, with many display changes of local interest, and has, to-date, worked with eight curators.

"One of the special qualities our volunteers have is being able to engage with the general public and Margaret is a good example of that, bringing the displays and information on Exmouth to life for our visitors."

The museum is always looking for new volunteers, and anyone who wants to give their time should get in touch.

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