The National Trust - Stuffy and Stupid?

Vernon Coleman

After my mother died, a few months ago, my father decided that he would like to pay for a memorial bench to be placed in the grounds of 'A La Ronde', the National Trust property near Exmouth, where he and my mother had worked as volunteer stewards since 1992. My father thought that this would be an excellent way to help celebrate my mother's life and to keep her in the memory of her many friends in the National Trust.

The National Trust has now told my father that although they will accept a memorial bench it must not include a memorial plaque. When I protested, a National Trust representative at 'A La Ronde' told me that they ban small memorial plaques because it is their intention to make their houses look like normal homes. There is, I was told, something `municipal' about a bench with a plaque on it.

This seems to me to be absurdly cruel, petty and bureaucratic nonsense. If any of the paid officers of the National Trust honestly believe that their houses look like normal homes then I suspect they must either live in very funny homes or have been smoking something illegal. How many normal homes are open to the public, charge for admission and have stewards parked in every room so that no one nicks the furniture? The National Trust relies heavily on volunteer workers. It should think a little about this daft ban which helps no one but causes, I suspect, much sadness among generous people who have given a great deal.

Copyright Vernon Coleman 2007