Meet the Hopefield Volunteers: Spotlight on Matt

With 27 years and counting spent volunteering here at Hopefield, we caught up with Matt to ask him a few questions about sanctuary life…

We couldn’t even imagine Hopefield without one of our longest serving volunteers, Matt, being part of what we do here! We caught up with him this week to ask him a few questions about what Hopefield means to him, how he discovered us and what he loves doing in his spare time…

As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?

I wanted to work with animals! I’ve always loved them and my late mum loved them too so she encouraged me to follow my dream to work at Hopefield.

How did you find out about Hopefield Animal Sanctuary?

I knew Paula, who set Hopefield up with her husband Ernie, when I was a child. I was very close to Paula and she suggested I come and help out here many years ago, and I’m still here now. Every Monday to Thursday I ride my bike to the sanctuary and it’s definitely my happy place. It is nice to come here to remember Paula and also my mum.

What was your first role at Hopefield Animal Sanctuary?

When I first started I was in charge of cleaning all the buckets and mucking out the goats.

Tell us about your role as a volunteer and what a day in the life of Matt looks like?

Everyone says I am very helpful and I am always happy to do whatever jobs need doing. I make sure the horses have their water, I hose all the plants in the warmer weather, I help Carrie on farm if she is really busy, and I also help another volunteer, DIY Dave, with any odd jobs that need doing around the sanctuary. I am always busy, but I do like to find a few minutes to have a cup of tea and chat with the other staff and volunteers if I can.

What have been your highlight/s of volunteering at Hopefield Animal Sanctuary?

All of it! I love the animals, I love the people and I love just being here and being useful. It really does cheer me up being here and everyone is always very nice to me. I lost my mum in 2022 and the support I had from Hopefield really did help me more than anyone will ever know. Dave, Lianne and everyone else are like a second family to me.

Do you have a favourite animal at the sanctuary?

Matt and Chip where to see animals in Essex things to do in Essex with kids

I love them all but I do especially like going to see Chip the cow. I was here when he arrived as a baby, so I have seen him grow up here. I have always loved animals and I have a pet dog at home called Mr Darcy, but I don’t bring him to the sanctuary as I ride me bike to get here!

How has the sanctuary changed over the years?

Well, it’s got a lot bigger! There has been a lot of new buildings and enclosures go up as the sanctuary has taken on more abandoned animals. When I was first here it was mostly horses, but since then it’s become a safe place for all kinds of creatures including reindeer, foxes, sheep, rabbits and lots more.

Tell us 3 things about you that might surprise people…

Matt where to see animals in Essex


    • I love to read car manuals, especially older types of cars like Cortinas and Escorts. I like knowing how things work.


    • I collect matchbox dinky toys, and in particular police cars. One of my colleagues recently gave me some which was so kind.


    • I have two bikes and I ride everywhere. I did have three but I recently gave one of them to Rafferty, the son of one of our office staff, because he is a really good kid and sometimes comes down in the school holidays with his mum.



Thank you, Matt! If you too would like to volunteer at Hopefield Animal Sanctuary then do take a look at the careers page of the website where all the up-to-date information can be found on volunteering with us.


Subscribe to our newsletter

Sign up here for the fun updates from the animals, information about the latest news at the sanctuary and exclusive offers and events.

Join our mailing list

Join Hopefield’s mailing list to be the first to know about all things happening at the sanctuary and exclusive offers and events!