17th January 1994 – 30 years with Bill

The volunteers at the museum make the work and projects we do possible.

From supporting educational groups, adding to the visitor experience, and assisting with collections – they make continuing The Argylls story possible. And this month, we are looking at not only just one of our front of house volunteers, but our longest serving volunteer in the team.

Bill has been giving his time to the museum continuously for 30 years. Having served in The Argyll himself in 1957, he returned to the museum in 1994 on a year placement. After his placement, he decided to stay as a volunteer and he still climbs the hill from the train station every Wednesday morning to spend the day in the museum.

Bill telling new recruits to the Royal Regiment of Scotland his experience of being a solider and living in Stirling Castle
Photo Credits: The Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders Museum

Bill signed up to the The Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders regiment at Stirling Castle in 1957, and today gives a firsthand insight and often tells stories about the castle, such as where his bunk used to be in the since refurbished Great Hall, or where he used to pick up his pay check, in a building that has since been demolished. He also fondly tells stories of the discos that used to happen on a Saturday night in the gymnasium, when nurses were bussed up from the local hospital so they soldiers had someone to dance with. All these stories visitors are keen to here from someone who experienced themselves.

Bill is now a museum gallery volunteer. In this role, we ask people to welcoming visitors and give visitors an introduction to the Museum and the Regiment’s history. In this role we also ask that volunteers encourage engagement with the collection and that they answer visitor questions about the Regiment or collection. With Bill’s experience and stories, he is able to far exceed this and not only helps introduce new volunteers to the museum space and give them an idea of the regiments history but he does this for staff too.

Bill has also contributed to the museum and archive collection. Whether it be written personal reminisces about Saturday Nights at the depots or physical objects, such as the Action Man Argyll and Sutherland Highlander doll – these are all priceless at keeping the Argylls story alive.

Bill showing 4SCOTS around the museum galleries
Photo Credits: The Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders Museum

When the CEO, who also served in the regiment for over 30 years, was asked about Bill’s time in the museum, Islay had this to say:

“Bill Anderson has been a stalwart Regimental Veteran Volunteer for over 30 years; retiring in 1994 from BT as an Engineer Bill started his museum volunteering on 17th January 1994 and has devoted his time volunteering here at The Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders Museum; Bill brings our visitor experience alive by sharing Regimental stories of when he joined as a young recruit starting his National Service here in Stirling Castle on the 17th of January 1957.

Bill and Islay Carmichael in front of the Thin Red Line, celebrating his 30th anniversary with the museum
Photo Credits: The Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders Museum

He talks about how the Castle operated as a Regimental training depot from 1881 up until 1963; he really does help bring our museum and the many stories alive for our visitors; he has attended and supported the many Royal visits here in the museum over the 30 years. Bill is simply an inspiration who does so much for our showcase museum; during the COVID pandemic the only thing that motivated him during lockdown; was understanding that he could get back to volunteering here in our museum after the museum refurbishment and the lockdown restrictions were lifted.

We are truly grateful for Bill’s continuous selfless museum volunteering support; we are proud of him and his continued long dedicated volunteering to the Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders Museum as we celebrate #STIRLING900 from the Kings Old Building the place Bill has volunteered the past 30 years.

Bill is very much part of our Regimental museum story and DNA.”

Thank you, Bill!

Written by Caitlin Meldrum, Audience and Communications Officer, with excerpts from Alan ‘Islay’ Carmichael, Museum CEO.