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EDUCATIONAL ESTABLISHMENTS


Getting Personal Ben Grigor - it could


get windy at his dinner party


Who are you? Ben Grigor, Grounds Manager, Queen Ethelburga’s Collegiate, York.


Family status? In a relationship. I have two children Lanah Jane who is seven and Harris who is five.


Who's your hero and why? My dad, he’s not murdered my mum. Go dad!


What would you change about yourself? Self-doubt.


What’s your guilty pleasure? Lorraine Kelly.


What’s been the highlight of your career so far? Being trusted to build a successful department literally from nothing with my guys. Without interference.


What are your pet peeves? People who lack common manners or respect for others.


If you could go anywhere right now, where would it be? California.


What’s the best part of your job? My Grounds Team and the people I interact and work with every day.


… and the worst? Having to repeat myself continually to grown adults.


Do you have a lifetime ambition? Buy, fix and sell American classic cars for a living.


Which three albums would you take to a desert island? Stanley Road, Paul Weller; Guardians of the Galaxy Movie Soundtrack and The Essential, Van Morrison.


Who would you choose to spend a romantic evening with? Kelly Brook.


If you won the lottery, what is the first thing you would do? Phone Kelly Brook.


What would you consign to Room 101 and why? Snowflakes. Sense of entitlement agitates me; they have too much to say about things they don’t know enough about.


Which three people, living or dead, would you invite to a dinner party? Burt Reynolds, Steve McQueen and Dean Martin.


If you could be anyone for a day, who would it be and why? I would have said Donald Trump to see what I can get away with. However, I think someone else is already


94 PC April/May 2019 Charterhouse Verti-Brush in action


being him for a day. And it’s clearly a long queue.


Do you have any bad habits? Several, but none that can be published.


... or any good ones? Erm ... nope.


Do you go to bed worrying about the next day's workload? Not for the last two and a half years. Sleep like log now.


What are you reading at the moment? - Hard copy or online? James Patterson, Liar Liar. I always read real books, no notifications or beeps.


What's the best advice you have ever been given? Never compromise your standards.


What's your favourite smell? My own farts. Isn’t that everyone’s?


What do you do in your spare time? Spend as much time as possible with my kids and my partner Amy. Working on classic cars.


What’s the daftest work related question you have ever been asked? Why is the golf course closed for being too wet? The roads on the way here were fine!!!


What’s your favourite piece of kit? If I must pick just one, it’s the Toro 648. Any bit of kit is only as good as the person using it.


What three words would you use to describe yourself? Considerate, driven, personable.


What talent would you like to have? Play any musical instrument or sing.


What law/legislation would you like to see introduced? Politicians to wear a device that gives them an electric shock when they lie. Would keep them warm in the winter. Not all bad I suppose.


power the collegiate had and missed out! QE are not loyal to one manufacturer. Ben insisted that the machinery should be site specific, needed to be robust, user friendly, and had longevity. All of the machines perform well but, as Ben says: “Outstanding results are due to staff diligence!” Servicing is carried out in-house or by Russell’s.


On the question of a machinery wish list, Ben smiles and says: “This may sound corny but my wish list was met when we started!”


Pests and Diseases


All pest and weed control is carried out in house, with worm control probably being the main issue. QE do suffer with rabbits, but they are kept under control and they are not a particular nuisance at present. Canada geese visit and as Ben says; “No real problem with the actual birds, it’s their droppings!”


Ecology and Environment


Local fauna and flora is important to Ben and the whole estate. All is well managed and encouraged. I could not help noticing the vast planting of colourful Primulas around the site. When I mentioned this to Mark, he told me that they plant 20,000 bedding plants twice a year! The collegiate has a strong environmental policy in place throughout all departments and does work with local agencies and the Environmental Agency. There is an environmental consultant for each department. Recycling is a given!


With ecology and the environment in mind, and apart from the bedding plants programme, there can be seen rainwater harvesting and water saving initiatives (through the drainage system and into the irrigation facility and with a dedicated machinery wash-off). Composting is carried out on site and the estate features a special sewage plant. Bird boxes too are evident.


About Our Industry


Ben believes that our industry has advanced much in the last ten to fifteen years, with technology now to the forefront. He is pleased to see that a number of prominent grounds managers have succeeded in putting a spotlight on the industry! As to being undervalued, Ben has no complaints at QE, but does recognise that that is not the case everywhere. He feels that the situation is improving, but adds: “You have to put your case forward!”


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