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Not many of us nowadays will expect to be in the same job for over 50 years, however, a Sussex pensioner has finally hung up his shovel and put the shears away in the estate garden sheds after spending five decades working as a gardener in a private estate. The East Grinstead Courier and Observer reported on his achievements a while ago.
John Ridley who was 68 had started work at the Wych Cross Place estate whilst still a teenager. In fact prior to 1972 children left school at 15 and went straight into work unlike today where the age is 16 and is likely to rise to 17 from 2013 and to 18 from 2015. A big jump since Mr Ridley left school.
Whilst at Wych Cross he have performed a variety of jobs, which is quite normal, from working in the kitchen garden prior to being responsible for the beautiful lawns and then was made up to becoming ground foreman - the position he held until he retired.
'It's going to take a bit of getting used to' Mr Ridley said about his retirement which I'm sure it will be. After having a pattern to your life for so long and then having to fill those hours up will take some adjustment, however, it will be good to be able to pursue other leisure activities as well as pottering about in the garden. Perhaps a new garden shed or summer building is called for to help in this cause.
He explained how he came to be working at the Estate that he had done gardening before so was quite used to that. He loved the outdoors and loved gardening so really was a match made in heaven. He further said that he could not have asked for anything more or could have found a job which would have suited it better. The last 20 years had been the most exciting because they were the most recent and I'm sure the achievements and the pride in looking after the gardens were immense. There are many fine gardens in the Waltamstow area which he could have looked after as well.
To recognise his 50 years dedicated to the garden the Royal Horticultural Society (RHS) awarded Mr Ridley a 50 years service medal in a ceremony at Hampton Court Palace Flower Show, one of the major horticultural shows in the calendar, second probably only to the famous Chelsea Flower Show - home to the Chelsea Pensioners.
Have you been in a job for a long time? Has this been your only job? Do you expect youngsters of today to stay in a job for more than 20 years or is this a thing of the past?