The National Trust, the UK’s largest charity, is facing a growing crisis as its army or 70,000 volunteers gets older and weaker, and as visitor numbers increase and opening times extend.

One 65 year-old volunteer pensioner, Miranda Spatchurst, told the Daily Express that the Kent property where she works really needs seven helpers but often only has two or three turn up, “making it very hard to even get a tea break”.

Many of the Trust’s volunteers are in their 80’s and their is a view that the next generation of those in their 60’s who might otherwise provide free labour will need to be working longer before they receive a state pension, and will be more inclined to enjoy their harder-earned retirement, rather than work for free.

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