Happy Birthday to the Head Gardener!

During the week one of the unsung heroes of Shelsley Walsh celebrated a big Birthday. Our Correspondent tipped us off about this and has written a cracking post:

One of Speed Hill Climbings many unsung heroes hit 70 this week. His familiar face is often seen on Shelsley Walsh paddock gate ‘A’ as competitors arrive for events and one of the behind the scenes¬† workers who helps the hill custodian keep the famous hill in the best of condition is local man Derrick Pugh. He can usually be found near the paddock bar at the conclusion of the days competition.

Born on the estate of which Shelsley is part,  his first job was also on the estate and as a teenager he was one of the team that tore out the old apple orchards on the current spectator field and above the site of the old kennels. Much of his childhood was spent on a farm at Canon Pyon north of Hereford which partly accounts for his rich countryside accent.

Derrick Pugh Shelsley Walsh Hillclimb


His family returned to the Teme Valley in time for him to start work and he has lived locally ever since and in Martley for a number of years. He acquired the nickname ‘Head Gardener’ about ten years ago and it has stuck. Known for his blunt manner and frank and refreshing attitude he is no old fogey yet is nevertheless a kind and helpful chap and likes nothing better than a good natter when at Shelsley. Even though he is approaching his twilight years he can outwork many chaps a third of his age and Our Correspondent recalls very well being in some distress after a day of slave-driving by Derrick at Shelsley Walsh clearing the banks and spectator areas of undergrowth using brushcutters.

Congratulations Derrick and enjoy your Saturday night dinner out with friends at The Dog, Dunley.

Thanks for sending this over Eddie, and many happy returns to our old mate Derrick from Chloe & I.

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