The high-flyer who gave up her job to volunteer at Belmarsh prison | Guardian angel

Burned out from a demanding career, Rona McCandlish decided to join a prison volunteers team. The Guardian Angel helps her bring light to the visitor’s centre

On her first visit to HMP Belmarsh, Rona McCandlish got lost. The prison is in a sprawling, out-of-the-way 1990s estate in Thamesmead, south-east London. It was November 2018 and McCandlish was on her way to interview for a volunteer position with the charity Pact, which gives advice and support to prisoners and their families.

“I had to sprint half a mile in the end to get to the prison,” says McCandlish, who is 63 and lives in nearby Lewisham. She had got so lost, she showed up uncharacteristically late. “It helped me understand how alienating and confusing visiting a prison for the first time can be.”

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