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Street cleaner retires after 50 years’ dedicated service  | Sandwell Council

Street cleaner retires after 50 years’ dedicated service 

Published 24th May 2023

C Preedy

A loyal street cleanser has handed in his broom for retirement after 50 years of service.

Chris Preedy started work in April 1973 at the age of 15, the year before Sandwell became an official local authority borough.

Chris said: “I finished school on the Friday and was working as an Assistant Gardener by the Monday!”

Chris first fulfilled 30 years within the Sandwell Council Ground Maintenance department and recalls his first year maintaining the grass all year round using push mowers, hand sickles and scythes getting the areas ready for the merger into Sandwell Council in 1974.

Chris continued his career in Grounds Maintenance carrying out grass cutting, landscaping large derelict open spaces and line marking for the schools and sports fields across the borough.

When Sandwell Council’s Grounds Maintenance and Street Cleansing teams merged in the 1990s, Chris moved into a street cleansing role covering Oldbury which he thoroughly enjoyed.

For the final 13 years, Chris has been with Serco, Sandwell Council’s waste partner, where he continued his role as street cleansing operative. Over the years Chris has enjoyed meeting the local residents while passing on his knowledge and experience to new employees.

Chris has also been known to take his litter picking passion outside of work hours and takes it upon himself to clean a local road that frequently sees funeral processions, as a mark of respect.

When asked how he will spend his retirement, Chris said he will help his neighbours with their gardening and will continue to litter pick his local area.
Chris said: “Looking back, I don’t know where the 50 years have gone. There’s one good thing about retiring, I can put the alarm clock away! I would like to thank everyone for their support and friendship throughout the years.”

Tony Marston, Senior Contract Manager at Serco, said: “Chris’s length of service is truly exceptional, and he has been a vital cog in keeping Sandwell clean over the years.
“To his amusement, we presented him with a gold-painted litter picker to mark his 50-year milestone. Myself and all his colleagues and I wish him all the best in his retirement.”

Councillor Danny Millard, Sandwell Council’s Cabinet Member for Environment and Highways, said: “What an amazing service Chris has given to Sandwell for half a century – including 30 of those years as a Sandwell Council employee. I would like to thank him for all of his work and wish him a very happy and well-deserved retirement.”