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Bexley tree worker who worked during Great Storm of 1987 retires after 51 years’ service

PUBLISHED: 10:35 09 November 2017

Sid Wilkinson

Sid Wilkinson

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Sid Wilkinson first joined in May 1966

Sid Wilkinson pictured with councillor Peter CraskeSid Wilkinson pictured with councillor Peter Craske

A newly retired former tree and woodlands officer has been thanked for his “unerring enthusiasm” after five decades of service.

Sid Wilkinson has retired from his role in Bexley council’s Parks and Open Space team, after 51 years with the council which saw him deal with the aftermath of the Great Storm of 1987.

Mr Wilkinson said: “I’ll always remember the Great Storm. The next morning, I was out by 6am with a team of people.

“Our priority was clearing trees from the road but we also removed trees from houses and cars.

“In Belvedere, a tree had cut a boat in half.

“The owner had been building the boat for months and never made it out to water.

“Other crews were brought in from around the country to help clear woodlands and parks. It was definitely our busiest time. Ironically, the night before I was up late writing a new tree planting programme - unfortunately it had to be postponed.”

During his tenure as tree and woodlands officer, the new pensioner received the London Tree and Woodland award and the London in Bloom judges’ award.

Following his retirement on October 27, Bexley council has praised its loyal worker.

Cabinet member for community, environment and leisure, Peter Craske, said: “I’d like to thank Sid for his work over the last 51 years with the Council. His unerring enthusiasm, his hard work and extensive knowledge has been a massive part of the team.

“He is a real loss – but after all that time I’m sure he has earned some time off. I’m just glad that even though his programme had to be postponed in ’87 we were able to send him off safe in the knowledge that we have some new trees going up around the borough right now as part of the current tree planting programme.”

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