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EDUCATIONAL ESTABLISHMENTS Queen Ethelburga’s Collegiate


Starting from scratch


Queen Ethelburga’s Collegiate, an independent day and boarding school, is set in a 220 acre estate at Thorpe Underwood, North Yorkshire in rolling countryside. Of particular interest, especially to those in sports turfcare however, is QE’s dedicated Sports Village, recently completed in 2016. David Mears went to investigate and met Grounds Manager Ben Grigor


in September 2016 and has played an important part in the rapid development of the new grounds department, a division of the estates department. Asked about his entry into the industry, Ben commented: “I fell into it initially. I needed a summer job, so went to Crow Wood Golf Club near Muirhead, Scotland.” Working in the greens department at the club obviously appealed to Ben and he was offered an apprenticeship there in 1997. He recalled that the work and training was intense and much was expected of him; good career development experience! Three years later, he went to Mount Ellen Golf Club, a few miles away, as first assistant, gaining more experience. Ben credits his intense apprenticeship at Crow Wood as the reason he secured the position - and at just twenty-one years old! He spent four and a half years there and then returned to Crow Wood as Deputy Course Manager in 2005. In 2008, an opportunity beckoned and Ben made the move to Rangers Football Club, initially as Deputy Head Groundsman at Murray Park and then, in 2011, with the same title, at Ibrox Stadium. He spent nearly eight years with Rangers and acquired additional skills.


B In 2014 and gaining additional and varied


experience, Ben spent the next two and a half years in management positions with Souters Sports, SIS Pitches and Greenfields UK. This is where he honed his knowledge and skills with the development, production,


86 PC April/May 2019


ernard Grigor, known to all as Ben, was appointed Grounds Manager with responsibilities for the 42 acre outdoor sports facilities at Queen Ethelburga’s


installation and maintenance of natural, hybrid and synthetic sports turf systems. With such valuable experience and knowledge, together with his SVQ, NC (National Certificate) in Greenkeeping and other competency certificates, he was able to secure the position of Grounds Manger at Queen Ethelburga’s. I asked him “Was there one person who inspired you?” Ben replied; “Hard to say. I think there must be two.” He said that his dad, who worked for Glasgow Parks Department, inspired him with stories of his work and the characters he worked with. Ben found this so interesting and the camaraderie was appreciated. The other person was Stephen Hogg, Course Manager at Crow Wood. “He gave me so much responsibility and encouragement. He demanded a high standard of work. This ensured professionalism was maintained and a first class greenkeeping facility. Stephen certainly gave me a strong work ethic and he knew how to get the best out of me!”


“Queen Ethelburga’s was a great opportunity.” said Ben. “Nothing was inherited, so I was able to start from scratch to build a team and department. Along with adding workshop facilities and machinery, I was able to bring my wish list to life!” Asked about budgets, Ben answered: “I had my responses all ready for questions on my kit list, but there weren’t any, except why did I need a Dymo labeller!” So no issues with budget then.


The facility and staff


QE’s publicity states: ‘The outstanding range of high quality facilities on campus enables


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