Village Octagenarian Green Fingers(August 28, 2020)
An octogenarian villager who freely gives his time using his ‘green fingers’ provided a lot of Covid-19 lockdown colour and cheer to the corner of a busy junction just across the road from where he lives.
Heytesbury resident Rodney Mullins, who turns 81 this year, has turned over the earth and planted cyclamens, pansies, and polyanthus where local villagers, walkers and cyclists can take a break on the public seats.
“I like to do voluntary work.” said Rodney. “I do gardening for neighbours. I do not charge anything for that and I cut the grass verges to keep things neat and tidy.
“I thought when this all happened I would give this part of the village a bit of extra cheer.”
The 80-year-old is actually a qualified chef but whilst working for Flying Goose (now Lyons Seafoods) at their former headquarters at Barrow House in Bishopstrow found himself in charge of the grounds that surround it.
Tackling the large amount of bramble and bracken made the public seats more accessible and provided an area for the flower beds.
Rodney also got his green fingers in another way. He gave the village football club changing rooms a makeover using green paint covering its 42 feet by 20 feet ready for the new season.
“I have had a lot of good comments and have just played my small role this year,” Rodney added.
At the latest meeting of the parish council the work of pandemic volunteers was recognised.
"After sharing the parish council ‘Thank you to Volunteers’ press release it became apparent to me following a comment from a local Heytesbury Hub reader that not all older residents are online,” said the administrator and local councillor Vanessa Sturmey.
“So those being thanked may not of been aware of the grateful recognition that they were receiving.
“We are very lucky that we have volunteers like Rodney who take pride in their village and give up their time freely, so I was happy to visit with him and give him the news."
Dozens of volunteers emerged from the 700 residents when they could during the early stages of strict lockdown which saw more green fingered work with roses planted at the War Memorial, grass cutting, the sports pitches being maintained as well as the children’s play area keeping it ready for its re-opening.
The Red Lion public house responded to the pandemic becoming a greengrocery producing and providing fresh food.
Shopping volunteers kept the food cupboards of those self-isolating stocked up and helped in many other ways.
“All these examples of voluntary work help to make the Parish a nicer and more attractive place to live or demonstrate concern and awareness of the needs of others,” said parish council Chairwoman Louise Morris.
“Grateful thanks are extended to all.”