Tag Archives: Volunteers

What Makes Me Proud?


When you talk about Kynren, and believe me as volunteers we talk about it a lot, it’s because we are so proud of the project and of our own personal achievements.

But what stands out for me is without any question, it’s the people.

After the first successful season and now gearing up for season 2, the only questions that should be asked is;

‘What is Kynren?’

‘And what does it mean to you?’

For me Kynren is many things, I mentioned this without going into detail yesterday.

Yes it’s a fantastic, tremendous, outstanding show, with many other words that can describe and express how it makes you feel.

And all that have witnessed it have done.

But for me, Kynren – An Epic Tale of England, only tells half the tale.

There’s no doubting it’s an utterly impressive live outdoor show that is unique to the UK, but bearing in mind each performance has been delivered by a 1000 volunteers, and added by a few hundred more in high anticipation of Season 2.

Each of these people have come together for many personal reasons and stories that I hope to share with you throughout this year.

But these are just regular people, who have come together to give back, to volunteer their time to help improve their town, or surrounding areas.

Some have hobbies or common interests in acting or dancing, some have wanted to take on a new challenge or had wanted to welcome all the visitors to the area.

The Archers all have lives, they work, they go to school, they are part of families, they each have responsibilities, or other interests outside of this amazing project, but you can’t help coming back for more and more.

Each of these people, are what makes me feel proud when someone asks about Kynren.

The show is incredible, but the people, I’m speechless when I talk about them, they make me so proud, and in turn they make me feel proud as I was one of them too.

You only have to look at the children and the teenagers to know how great this project is, to have been fortunate to watch each of them grow in confidence from their first rehearsals to the end of an award winning first season.

They make me proud, these are the next generation of volunteers and performers that will continue to drive Kynren on to new bounds.

It prompted a question that I asked myself several weeks ago.

‘What must it be like to be a teenager right now?’

Kynren is providing so many opportunities to learn, to discover new interests and passions that you may never knew existed in your being.

I know it has literally done that for me, writing makes me feel alive.

But if Kynren was here when I was a teenager? What would I be doing? What role would I take part in? Would I have the confidence at all to take part?

I’d like to think I would be, I know for certain just looking at the volunteers of all ages it would have brought me on leaps and bounds, just as it has done for many of the kids and young adults too.

For me, it has challenged me to become resourceful, to care more, to stand up and be counted when it really mattered, and never be afraid to show your passion.

If you dream it, you can do it.

To have something so special on your doorstep, that no one else in the UK has, that the trust of deliverance has been put in the hands of volunteers, rather than seasoned professionals, and the opportunity for the town of Bishop Auckland has been equally matched by Jonathan Ruffer and by Kynren, is another reason to make you feel proud and honoured to be a part of it.

It’s going to be a strange feeling not going to be there from now on, to not be a part of the action, a part of the camaraderie, to miss out on well… just not being there.

But Kynren is in safe hands, and that’s because Kynren is a community project, and no matter what, it always will be.

When you attend this Summer, yes enjoy the show, it will be like something you will never of seen before, and if you were here last year, that includes you too.

Enjoy the scenery, the rolling landscapes that Kynren sits besides, look at the amazing wild flowers on the walk into the site.

But don’t forget to look at the people, the volunteers, the Archers, because when you look and take notice, you’ll realise that they are Kynren, the real Kynren.

The heartbeat to the whole project.

To book your tickets for one of the 17 live, action packed shows please visit the Eleven Arches website here: http://www.elevenarches.org/

Kynren Teams


Last night each Archer received an email that we had all been patiently waiting for in anticipation.

This email was a confirmation of which team each volunteer will be participating in during Kynren Season 2.

For me, I had been dwelling on which area of the show or which team would be best for me, towing and frowing from the Experience team that I was apart of in the debut season or trying my hand at another area of the project, potentially within the show team.

I decided several weeks ago to leave that decision to Eleven Arches to make, and this is what they chose.


The Show Team!!!

Over the course of the Summer, I, alongside each volunteer, each new teammate will be performing to 8,000 visitors each night for 17 performances.


In previous blogs I have mentioned what it must be like to perform in front of that many people, to feel the tingles run through your body when you witness from you’re own eyes the standing ovations, it’s truly something which can only be described as an incredible, memorable and honoured feeling.

One of which I can’t wait to experience in person for myself.

It’s certainly going to be an interesting year, learning new skills, techniques and learning from the best, our own Archers.

As some of you may know, outside of the Kynren project I will be heading down to Westminster, London in April, competing against the UK’s best bloggers in the UK Blogging Awards 2017, hoping to add another trophy and award to Kynren’s growing list of achievements.

This Blog was originally created as a record, something that I could look back on and treasure and it surely has achieved what I set out for it to become.

What I never realised was it was going to be the very start of something very special, and that’s what Kynren has provided as a whole.

Kynren is providing opportunities as a whole to challenge yourself, to change the way you think, to give you that self belief that you are good enough, you can do it not just think it.

I’ve said many times as have many of the volunteers, Kynren is a game changer.

It’s certainly changed and will continue to change my life for the better.

Its created a personal passion for writing, one which I’ll carry for a lifetime, one which I’m exploring part time as a career too.

And within 2017, my readers will witness from my words; Kynren from a Show Team perspective.

A final note must go to this team;


The Experience team of course, it’s been an absolute delight to work alongside so many warmhearted people who have showed kindness and compassion at every turn.

Thank you to you all.

To find out more information about the project or to book your tickets please click on this link to go to Eleven Arches website: http://www.elevenarches.org/



Today I’d like to talk about family it has been mentioned many times over the last year what ‘Kynren’ means.

For those that don’t know, “The name ‘Kynren’, echoes the Anglo Saxon word ‘cynren’ meaning ‘generation, kindred, family’.”

And from this, the 1000 volunteers that represented the project in its debut first season instilled something that is so unique and quite special that you can clearly see it before you today.

You can see that Kynren is more than just the shows, more than the friendships, the camaraderie, the teamwork.

Like any family, we are proud of our own, we laugh, we joke, we encourage and we support and most of all when we are needed we are always there.

Today as the Eleven Arches Facebook page announced we lost one of our own, a fellow Archer, that sadly past away following a short illness.

I personally didn’t know him, although I know his daughters, I’m sure he was a lovely man.

Even as Kynren grows, my personal intention is to meet as many Archers as I can, to listen to the many stories of why they volunteered and what memories stand out for each of them.

To share in the laughter, to be that shoulder of support, to stand side by side as we as individuals come together in our growing Kynren family and produce what we all can’t wait to be another incredibly ‘epic’ Season 2.

So to all our absent friends who once stood with us, we shall always remember, you will all be forever in our hearts and your memories will drive us on as an unbreakable ‘Kynren family’ to keep improving, and keep delivering to ensure Kynren will be here for generations to come.


2017 brings us Season 2, the new volunteers are waiting in anticipation to find out which teams they’ll be joining, and equally every Archer new and originals are counting down the days  for the training sessions to begin.

So come and meet our Kynren family, bring your smiles, your enthusiasm, and maybe even a rainjacket too.

Season 2 starts in July running for 17 shows, book now to avoid disappointment.

Click on Eleven Arches website for further details, http://www.elevenarches.org/


The Countdown Begins


Happy New Year!!! 🎉

So with 2017 starts the countdown to Kynren Season 2, with the first show performed in only 172 days time, on Saturday 1st July.

The countdown has also begun for all new Archers too, as later this month they and myself included will find out which team they will be working with in preparation for the shows.

For me as you may have read I have yo-yo’d in the last few months on which team would be best for me to sign up too.

Having helped out at some of the recent mix and match sessions I decided that I would also go through the process that each new volunteer is going through and leave that decision in the hands of Eleven Arches to decide my fate.

I have every faith that whichever team they select will best benefit the overall project and that works very well with me.

Looking beyond Season 2 if I can allow myself to do just that, I would like if at all possible to work in each team year by year, to fully understand and appreciate what each team trains for, how each team works, and to witness Kynren in its entirety that only those individual teams get to see.

I think that would be such an honour to do and an incredible experience to record.

Outside of the project, some of the Archers came together on Friday 30th December for another meetup to wish each other well for the up and coming year ahead.

It was great to see so many familiar faces and also meet one or two new ones, first year Archers and some new recruits too.

The venue of The Pavilion and our hosts Chris and Jo-Anna Robinson has been like a Kynren Volunteers 3rd home.

The place was a hive of activity, many locals who popped in for a quiet drink commenting how nice it was to see a venue so busy.

It was quite appropriate that it was held here, as Chris and Jo-Anna now embark on new endeavours when they open up new premises early in the New Year.

They have actively played their part in our debut season as they hosted many of our after show parties helping each team of volunteers become more acquainted with each other.

Thank you both for your support and helping us create so many memories.

From a volunteers perspective it doesn’t really change, it never does.

You only have to mention the word ‘Kynren’ and there is an immediate excitement.

Each and every Archer, new or old, we all just waiting to get started, and collectively we’re looking to put on another season of spectacular shows for your viewing pleasure.

We can’t wait to meet you all.

To learn more about Kynren or purchase tickets for Season 2 please visit Eleven Arches website here: http://www.elevenarches.org/

Why did you volunteer?


With Kynren’s Mix and Match recruitment sessions in full swing in preparation for new volunteers for Season 2, I thought it could be a good opportunity to look back on 12 months and talk again about the reasons why 1000 strangers all came together to make Kynren the success story of 2016.

Now an award winning show having just won ‘Performance of the Year at the Living North Magazine Awards 2016.

Just the first of many acknowledgements that lies ahead for the project, and the efforts of every single person who has played their part is richly deserved.

Over the last couple of weeks it’s been like da ja vu for me, more mix and match sessions that I’m not involved in, and it really says something when reading and hearing how this new band of volunteers have enjoyed the sessions as much as the first year’s did.

What did I actually miss out on?!!!

Thinking back to 12 months ago I don’t need to go into details on why I volunteered, as I’ve already covered this in previous blog posts.

But what I will say is we as a collective group of people, once strangers, now lifelong friends, we achieved something special.

A straight forward concept of volunteering your time for a greater good that has had a massive impact on ourselves individually as well as creating more than hope, creating real true possibilities for our town of Bishop Auckland, and the generations of people who will live through it.

We are creating a positive future for the children growing up in our town to show them, that with hard work any dream is achievable.

You just have to believe and want it.

Jonathan Ruffer, Eleven Arches and every volunteer are part of a new history creating a legacy for our town for all to be proud of.

12 months ago I had attended an open day and I was onboard, I still remember it like yesterday, I remember telling friends and their response was “you’ve done what?”

It is without doubt one of the best life decisions I’ve ever made, this isn’t an over sell either.

Being a volunteer at Kynren isn’t about what you may get for volunteering, at least it’s not for me.

Remembering why I volunteered, it was first and foremost to give back to the town I live and support the project.

Kynren has far exceeded all of our expectations, no one knew quite what to expect but no one expected this.

I always said I’d give them a year, having completed this year, I would now like to think I’ll be associated to Kynren for the rest of my life.

It really does mean that much, it’s not just a project that I’m extremely proud and passionate about, but I’m also extremely proud and passionate on how it has changed and developed me as a person.

No other project could do that.

Fundamentally, Eleven Arches is a charity, a trust given back to the town of Bishop Auckland.

Kynren is a success story, a story created especially as it’s run by the enthusiasm of hundreds of volunteers.

And year on year it will grow, it will create new boundaries to push the development of its volunteers and wow the audiences alike.

Visitors will and have arrive(d) from every corner of the globe, just to experience it with their own eyes, and the Experience team will look to welcome each one individually as they have done through Kynren’s first season as that’s what they do to great effect.

You’ll have heard a statement “people make an occasion” and on this project you’ll find that this statement has never been truer.

The friendships and connections that you make really are the icing and the cherry on top of an already fabulous project, so what’s stopping you from joining us?

Current Archers can you remember why you volunteered?

To sign up and become part of the ‘Kynren Family’ click on this Eleven Arches link to sign up for a Mix and Match session, come and find out all about it for yourself.




What’s been happening?

It may appear it’s been all quiet on the Kynren front but believe me there has been plenty going on, on and off site.

Eleven Arches have been shortlisted for an award by Living North Magazine for ‘Performance of the Year’

Jonathan Ruffer has also been shortlisted for an award for ‘Contribution to the North East Award’

Every Archer is delighted that Kynren has received recognition with both of these nominations and have their fingers crossed for Jonathan and Eleven Arches on the night.

To read more please click on the below link: http://www.livingnorth.com/northeast/events/living-north-awards/shortlist

Next up our hero, our saviour, our friend, Mr Jonathan Ruffer has been awarded ‘Philanthropist of the Year’ award at the Spear’s Wealth Management Awards.

Well done and many Congratulations to Jonathan.

You can read more about this award here: https://elevenarches.org/kynren/news/Jonathan-Ruffer-wins-Philanthropist-of-the-Year-Award

Off site you may have noticed many Kynren volunteers giving up their time to help and sell poppies in and around various supermarkets and locations in Bishop Auckland, a tremendous effort by each of them.

I have said it many times before throughout my blogs Kynren has united a community, all the principles were already there but the friendships that have been formed through just the first season has inspired the community to once again come together to give back to a worthy cause.

One element that the Kynren volunteers will continue to deliver forever and a day is; charities, supporting local businesses, the people and the towns we live in are important to us.

Kynren means family, and we couldn’t agree more.

On Sunday 6th November, the Archers had their first opportunity of coming together as a big group to carry out some work on the Kynren site for their tree planting day.


It was great to be back at our second home, surrounded by our new friends, who feel very much like being part of an adopted family.

The only drawback to the day was the weather, torrential rain and high winds for most of the day.

I was there early to help them setup and as the rain poured down, there was an initial question of how many will turn up?

I told staff and volunteers not to worry, the Archers will come in there 100’s no matter what the weather, it may sound strange to some, but Kynren is in our bloodstream now, we live and breathe it, and if we are available we come.

Even our fellow Archer Richard who lives in Bradford made the journey to plant his tree.

I have heard around 1,500 trees were planted on the day which is a fantastic effort, lots have been planted in memory of loved ones that sadly are no longer with us and others in dedication for themselves as a lasting memory of the contributions they have all made.

An analogy that someone wise once said to me was “From mighty oaks, little acorns grow” meaning great things may come from small beginnings.

And Kynren ethos is very much like this from the outset, Jonathan Ruffer delivered a vision, Eleven Arches have managed this vision and produced clarity, and through all of these people with every volunteers help and assistance we’ve delivered a project and an Epic performance of shows that we will be forever proud of.


Lastly, the new television advert and tickets for Season 2 will be coming very soon.

Eleven Arches will be announcing so follow their social media pages and/or subscribe to their newsletter to keep updated.

In October, all of the volunteers were invited to a special screening of a preview of the advert and you can fail to be impressed, so certainly keep your eyes peeled for that.

For more information please visit Eleven Arches website: http://www.elevenarches.org/ for more details.

Visions and Dreams

Going back to January of this year I spoke of how the newly formed Experience Team had a presentation carried out by Linda Moir who was responsible for the front of house volunteers at the British and Paralympic Games held in London in 2012.

Over the last few weeks I have been thinking back about a range of nights and experiences that Kynren has created and produced and this night is no different.

From Linda’s presentation she described how the Experience Team would fast become the face of Kynren, and how was she right.

After all the team with the red jackets will be some of the first volunteers to welcome you and the last volunteers to say goodbye.

Looking back, this got me thinking, it’s easy to tell you what it’s like to be a volunteer, but there are so many people who have played their parts ensuring that we would be ready, but unfortunately through reasons or another sadly were unable to carry through that journey with us.

Gone, but will never ever be forgotten.

Some are sadly no longer with us, and while we miss them they will always remain in our thoughts.

Some were mentors or trainers who may once have started in that capacity but are now good friends alongside it too.

Kynren is bigger than a personal journey even though despite this it is still important to remember.


Kynren was once about Visions and Dreams, not only about the project, but of personal journeys and that box has very much been ticked off.

We as volunteers may have the unique opportunity to be part of the ride, through all the twists and turns and all of the rewards that come with it.

But it’s safe to say and remember that we’d be nowhere without each other.

Kynren is very much about the people, those that stand before you today, tomorrow and the days after that.

But never forgetting those people who also once stood beside you.

We are strong in the belief and support of others, teammates who are now family.

And we care about our own, and always will do.

Kynren will fast become a legacy, not only for Bishop Auckland, our town, but for how in just a short space of time has and will continue to do so is changing lives.

Where would we really be without it.