A HARTLEPOOL grandad is finally retiring after serving the people of the town for 49 years.
Tony Davison, 65, started work for Hartlepool Borough Council at the tender age of 15 as an apprentice gardener at West View Cemetery, in West View Road.
The dad-of-three and grandad-of-one worked hard on the upkeep and refurbishment of the town’s parks, cemeteries, and sports areas such as Grayfields bowling greens and pitches, and climbed the ladder to reach his current and final position of Park and Cemeteries Supervisor.
But after almost five decades of toil – which has seen massive changes in working practices – Tony, from the Stranton area of Hartlepool, is ready to down tools and enjoy his retirement.
He will be completing his final shift on Friday, December 5.
Tony, who is married to Mavis, 63, said: “As a young lad my father advised me to go and start work for the council and I got a role as an apprentice gardener.
“I started work at West View Cemetery when I was 15-years-old with a lot of old men who were ex-forces or agricultural workers. I loved it and the stories they had were brilliant.
“I’ve worked with some very interesting people over the years.”
He added: “I was going to retire at 60 but I just didn’t feel the need to, I’ve always said I would go at 65 and now I’m here.
“I’m a bit apprehensive but as you do you realise you actually spend more time at work than you do at home, and I’ve put a lot of hours in over the years. I’ve really enjoyed it.”
Dave Stubbs, chief executive of Hartlepool Borough Council, also thanked Tony for his efforts over the years.
He said: “Tony has been an outstanding servant to the council and we wish him well for the future.
“He certainly deserves a long and happy retirement after 49 years of dedicated service.”
Tony’s service has seen a lot of change since the early days of his career.
He said: “You look at all the tractors and machinery that we use now on the parks and cemeteries etc – there must be five or six.
“When I started we had one!
“Years ago we all used to just jump in a trailer and sit on the back of oil drums or whatever if we wanted a lift anywhere, but you couldn’t do that now with all the health and safety regulations that were brought in.
“It was all very physical in those days too. If you wanted to dig a hole, you got a spade and dug a hole. Now you would get a JCB to do it for you.
“If you wanted a few tonnes of material shifting you’d do it with a wheelbarrow, now you’d use a tractor.
“Sometimes it was so cold that the tools we were working with were stuck frozen to the ground and we had to kick them to free them up!”
Tony said he will be spending more time with his wife and family, and is hoping to pursue hobbies including photography, walking, cycling and hopefully take a few holidays.