National Volunteers Week: Phil Bater and Sue Price, husband and wife match day ambassadors

To celebrate National Volunteers Week 2017, we’ll be featuring just a small number of our volunteers on our website.  We’ve asked them to describe the roles they undertake, what they enjoy and what they would say to encourage others to get involved.

Sue Price and Phil Bater are both Club Match Day Ambassadors

Sue Price and Phil Bater are both Club Match Day Ambassadors

For our final feature of National Volunteers Week, we spoke to Phil Bater and Sue Price, a husband and wife pair who volunteer together (and sometimes separately!) at Exeter City.  Phil a Grecian by birth, Sue a convert, are both match day ambassadors.  They are also members of the volunteering ticket team with Phil currently Chairman of the Senior Reds.

Phil takes up the story of how they got involved and with many others it started with the SJP and Cat & Fiddle work parties.  “We went along to the first work parties in the summer of 2003 after relegation and got to know people such as Dacre Holloway and Pete Bishop.  We wanted to do anything we could to help and all help was needed.” Sue adds that she and Phil were also asked to help Norman Warne with the famous Exeter City Quiz. “We helped drafting some of the questions but also got involved on the night with marking answers and making refreshments.”

It is as Match Day Ambassadors however, that Phil and Sue really enjoy their time volunteering for City.  “The Club introduced the roles in 2016 and we contacted Richard Knight, the Supporter Liaison Officer (amongst other things) at the Club about signing up.’ Phil says ‘At first there were just two or three of us at each home match but we’re now up to eight, though there is always room for more as we would like more Ambassadors to work inside the ground.”

Match day ambassadors, including Phil (2nd right) receiving their coats from Grecian Goal PHOTO: Sean Hernon/PPAUK

Match day ambassadors, including Phil (2nd right) receiving their coats from Grecian Goal PHOTO: Sean Hernon/PPAUK

“The time commitment as an Ambassador can vary, depending on when you can get to the ground.  Sue and I get there for 1pm so that we can meet any fans who arrive early, particularly from the away side.  We are based at the entrance to the ground on St James Road and we help people find their way around.  It could be an away fan or it could be a City fan on their first visit.  It’s important they are met by a friendly face and have someone they can approach for information.  We recently all got given an Ambassadors jacket, paid for by Grecian Goal, and this helps us to stand out and makes us more approachable.” Sue continues: “It’s very rewarding and we get such positive comments.  It’s important to be proactive and outgoing, which can seem a bit scary at first, but it can make such a difference.”

Asked if there have been any memorable moments, Sue recalls meeting a group of three students at the recent Carlisle play-off semi-final. “You get to meet such interesting people.  They were from Oman, studying at Exeter University.  They came to SJP as they’d heard about the game, although they did not have tickets. I spoke to them for a while and then by coincidence I saw them the following day in the city centre and they all said and they’d watched the game on tv and were now looking to buy tickets for the Wembley final.  It’s great when you see someone again and they say hello after you have helped them on a match day, that way you know you’ve made a difference.”

Senior-Reds-logoPhil is also Chairman of the Senior Reds supporter group: “Along with many others, including Sue, we organise events such as talks from ex-City players.  We’ve also taken part in the Grecian Histories project and shared our stories and experience of watching City.  And don’t forget we may be called the Senior Reds, but anyone with a long term interest in Exeter City is welcome to join!” Highlights of volunteering for both Phil and Sue included being part of the ticketing team.  First getting involved with the Liverpool FA Cup ticket sales, they have recently spent time selling play-off semi-final tickets. “You really feel you are contributing to the Club when you do this’ said Phil ‘You are really making a difference.  You have to put in the hours but you get so much satisfaction in return.  Personally I have found I have developed my skills and self-confidence through volunteering at City.”

How would Sue encourage someone else to get involved and volunteer at City? “It is a very friendly club, with an amazing group of people – both staff and other volunteers.  Everyone mucks in and it is all appreciated. There are so many giving so much and the club has a real sense of community because of it.  I sometimes wish there was more money at Exeter City but I do then think we would lose the volunteers and our sense of it being our club.  Volunteering really brings us together as fans”.  At this point Phil chips in and says: “Give a work party a go! Everyone is welcome and there is a job for everyone. I really love the Ambassador work and I miss it in the summer months!  I would recommend it to anyone.”

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