People from all walks of life take time to volunteer and make a huge difference to our Centre. We are deeply grateful to everyone who has donated their time, energy and talent to create an invaluable resource for the spiritual community. For Volunteers Week 2021, we have collected the stories of some of the people who help make the Centre what it is today.
Our Centre was founded almost ten years ago. In that time we have been blessed to work with a diverse range of individuals. We’ve had volunteer artists, cooks, tour guides, historians, librarians, workshop hosts, spiritual counsellors, mediums and more. Each volunteer has their own passion that they bring to our organisation.
To learn more and get inspired, see the volunteering stories below.
Chloe Deas’ Volunteer Story
“I was born in St Andrews, moved to Dalkeith & moved to Edinburgh when I was a student at the University of Edinburgh.
I was aware of the Centre before its inception through being a member of the Edinburgh Association of Spiritualists who were involved in the creation of the Centre. We worship in the Sanctuary each Sunday and Wednesday. Along with a few others from EAS I even helped in painting & decorating the building before it opened in 2011.
I attended workshops that broadened my own intuitive and mediumistic abilities.
I also was involved in the Psychical Investigations Unit (PIU) set up by Ann Treherne. There were weekly talks and vigils initially run by Archie Lawrie, then Stewart Lamont. I was asked by Ann Treherne to head up the PIU after Stewart Lamont moved onto pastures new.
As Head of the PIU, I help people who contact us because they don’t know where else to turn. Strange things may be occurring in their home and they don’t know who to talk to. Public perception has largely been shaped by horror films and sensationalist media.
My job is to investigate the situation, not to chase after phenomena, but to help the person understand what may be occurring to them. Often people simply need a safe space to talk about what’s been happening.
Part of my role was running the monthly Tuesday Talks programme. The Tuesday Talks allowed me to bring a wonderful array of speakers, who explored all minds of topics; hauntings, lucid dreaming, parapsychology, biofield healing, consciousness research and the intersection between science and spirituality. The Tuesday Talks were reinvigorated and taken over by our new chair, Professor Lance Butler. He created the weekly programme format which he hosts each week on zoom. He has attracted the leading lights in academia from across the globe to speak.
I look after the Centre’s wonderful library which holds lots of books on parapsychology, philosophy, spirituality, hauntings, psi phenomena, healing and reincarnation to name a few topics. Many of these books were generously donated by the public and we are very grateful to them Our library is a valuable resource and I am often to be found in the tea-room perusing a book from our library!
I have a life-long interest in ‘spooky stuff’, consciousness research, spirituality and meditation. Volunteering at the Centre allows me to further my knowledge and interest in all of my favourite things.
I started running my meditation class in 2019. I work with my husband who writes a lot of the music I use. I absolutely love creating meditation experiences for people and witnessing them as they connect with the unified field is beautiful.
My desire for the future is that the building is filled once more with people! The Centre is a place for the promotion of Spiritualism, and spirituality in all its many forms. It’s a place & space for the local community. Whether it’s yoga, meditation, mediumship, astrology, spooky stuff, the Centre had/has it all. I have all kinds of ideas and hope to re-grow SpiritFest with Ewan Irvine, in addition to running vigils and experiments with the PIU team.
I have so many memories – so many laughs & a few emotional tears too. The last year has been challenging and moving online became essential.
All events on zoom were free from March to August 2020. I worked alongside Ewan Irvine, Hazel Martin, Mandy MacDonald & Fredrik in the early days. Between us we created & promoted the heck out of weekly meditation classes, psychic development classes, Tuesday Talks, open circle, Friday Live on FB, and Saturday night dems. We started them with the Centre mediums to showcase mediumship to a wider audience. I hosted every Saturday from March to the end of November 2020.
Working with Ewan, Mandy, Hazel & Fredrik was an utter joy. Saturday night attendees became regulars. A warmth developed. The attendees witnessed real mediumship which is about healing. As these lovely mediums gave their time & talents to support the Centre and gave accurate, evidential heartfelt messages of love to people you could see the effects. We all gave our all to help the people who turned up each Saturday. Their grief was palpable. As each message was given & received I saw pain easing, I witnessed spirit in action and these 4 mediums who worked tirelessly to reach as many people attending as they could.
On my last night of hosting, I felt very proud to host for them. These 4 mediums were professional and their mediumship showed off to the world the high standard of mediumship to be expected at the Arthur Conan Doyle Centre. We are friends as well as colleagues and my proudest memory is that last night when I hosted for them. I thought my heart would burst with joy, as they all gave exceptional messages. It’s really cheesy but I was overwhelmed. They were so passionate in their work for Spirit. They brought peace to so many people and showed that zoom was no barrier to meaningful mediumship.
The Centre’s given me the opportunity to make some wonderful friends. It’s been a place where I’ve been allowed to flourish and grow. Shereen, the Centre’s manager supports staff and volunteers and encourages us.”
Ewan Irvine’s Volunteer Story
“I am Edinburgh born and bred. I spent one year in Spain, but Scotland called back and I stay on the outskirts of Edinburgh with a dog called Benni and a cat called Simba.
Even before the Centre opened, I remember helping paint one of the upper rooms. I was travelling up and down the country doing mediumship and I also had a strong interest in investigating the paranormal using my mediumship. I was working in politics, before taking time out to care for my mother (who also visited the Centre frequently) who had dementia.
I have been lucky to help people through my mediumship over the years and I believe in giving back through volunteering and helping where I can. I have also helped run the local Corstorphine Fair, Edinburgh’s largest community-run event. Volunteering is an enjoyable experience and it is a great team at the Centre. And the coffee machine is always on! Benni also loves visiting.
The Pandemic has affected people in so many ways. One of these is that people are looking at their own self, who they are and their own spirituality. The Centre will be able to play an important role in that through workshops, talks and events. Whether it is an hour or two or more someone has to spare, it is a great place to volunteer and be part of something that caters for the mind and spirit.
I remember running my development circle as the flooring was still rolled up on the main hallway, the smell of fresh paint and there was an excitement about the Centre opening for the first time. Many years on, that excitement is still there in all that the Centre does.
I also remember the time when I was with Susan, who was a volunteer at the time and we were the only people in the centre. We had done a quick vacuum of downstairs and sitting having a cup of tea when we watched Henry the Hoover travel along with the foyer on its own. That was only one of the spooky experiences.”
Hazel Martin’s Volunteer Story
“I’m Edinburgh born and bred, though I’ve travelled extensively having settled for several years in the South of France and the USA. I returned to Edinburgh almost 6 years ago, coming home to my birth place and my family when my husband passed to Spirit.
Having walked this spiritual path most of my life, when I returned to Edinburgh I sought out a new spiritual home. I found the Arthur Conan Doyle Centre online but it would take me almost a year before I ventured through the doors of this magnificent building. I was grieving and not in a good place, so to find this caring community was absolutely Spirit led.
Spirit was kicking my behind, to get back in the saddle so to speak and I was guided to go back to basics in my development. Many intuitives will find themselves on the push-me-pull-me seesaw of life, where you get drawn to be of service but then pull back just as you’re making headway. Going back to the basics of learning is a good way of getting back on track, and I was led to join Gordon Smith’s 3 part foundation workshops which helped me greatly to find myself again. I went on to take part in many more workshops and classes at the Centre with Gordon and eminent teachers such as Tony Stockwell, Paul Jacobs and Lisa Williams, having completed Lisa’s Advanced Mediumship Mastery level 3 course, all of which have led me to develop my own classes and workshops as well as working with Spirit with one to one readings and Platform Mediumship.
I made a commitment to be of service to Spirit many years ago and having experienced the wonderful energy that is shared at the Centre I wanted to pay it forward. The bonus of course was to be working several days a week in this magnificent building with wonderful people. The Centre Manager Shereen had the patience of a Saint as she guided me through the tasks of reception work. Not many people are aware that there is an incredible vortex in the stair well where the reception desk is situated and it was wonderful to sit and work in this highly charged environment. I then went on to volunteer to take the weekly Open Circle along with Mandy MacDonald, and continued to bring the Open Circle to friends of the Centre throughout the pandemic through ZOOM. I’m delighted to be back working in person at the Centre now that we are slowly coming out of lockdown.
Bringing the events, classes and workshops online via ZOOM during the pandemic has been an amazing achievement as we have been able to reach an audience that could only be dreamt of pre COVID and it would be great to see this expand even further. I would love to see more courses in person but realistically need to be patient as we discover our new normal.
My memories of volunteering at the Arthur Conan Doyle Centre are of friendship and family, of looking out for one another. Like all families we have our ups and downs but we care about each other and celebrate our successes and major life events together. Seeing how the staff and volunteers of the Centre touch those who walk through our doors, and now online, has been wonderful and I’m blessed to be a part of all of this and of course to be of service.”
Kat Wojdyla’s Volunteer Story
“I am from Świdnica, Poland. I moved to Edinburgh in August 2007 with my family, and have been living here for the last 14 years.
I discovered the Centre in 2018, when I was just starting my Astrology journey. The SAA (Scottish Astrological Association) held Astrology classes in one of the basement rooms. At the time I was very confused with what to do with my life, I was working in numerous hospitality and retail jobs but I knew there is more to life than this. Discovering Astrology and the Centre was a starting point of my spiritual journey.
I remember when I saw a post on Instagram saying that the Centre is looking for a volunteer. I applied straight away, as I intuitively knew this is the right step to take. I wanted to become a part of the Centre and its spiritual community. I would like the Centre to be well known and established among all age groups, in Edinburgh and beyond, offering guidance and knowledge to all those who are in search of answers to the questions life brings their way.
One memory I would like to share is the first zoom event I hosted in August last year. I was talking about Oracle Cards, and how to approach making your own deck. Before the workshop I consulted the Sabian Oracle (https://sabiansymbols.com/) and received a wonderful message from it. It talked about ‘unveiling yourself’ so that a person can no longer hide their light. I see this workshop as the beginning of my journey in sharing my knowledge. Since August I have run a number of Astrology workshops and had Astrology consultations with many wonderful clients. The Centre and its community gave me a lot of confidence and made me realise that my voice matters. This memory reminds me of the power of community and that even if you don’t believe in yourself, other people do and they are there for you. They will push you and motivate you so that you can overcome your fears and doubts.”