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A Community Ride-On Mower

St John’s has quite a large, mainly grassed churchyard which has always been something of a challenge to keep under control. For several years the grass cutting was undertaken by a member of the congregation, David Youngman, who, on a warm summer’s day, was often to be found with shirt sleeves rolled up trudging up and down behind a modest petrol mower. David sadly died in 2012 and other people stepped in at various times to cut the grass. Of late our Lay Reader, Clive Mitchell has bravely soldiered on.

Just over a year ago the playing field at the Village Hall was levelled out and re-seeded and about the same time the Parish Council started developing the village pond as a conservation area, including creating a grassed path at the back. Discussions took place between the Village Hall and Parish Council concerning the possibility of acquiring a ride-on mower that could be used not only for these two grassed areas but also for the churchyard (the Parish Council have made a financial contribution towards grass cutting at both the churchyard and the village hall for many years). The discussions were extended to include St John’s and other issues as to ownership, insurance and secure storage all had to be addressed. However, where there’s a will there’s a way and once these were overcome we then had to find a suitable and reliable second-hand ride-on mower. Calvin Pigott of Anglia Mowers (Calvin lives in Aylmerton) came to our rescue and sourced a suitable mower that was affordable to the three parties.

The result has been an outstanding success. It used to take Clive around 4 hours to cut the grass at the churchyard, but with the ride-on mower all three areas of grass are now cut once a week in just one and a half hours, although Clive still does the fiddly work around the headstones.

The fact that three organisations have co-operated and pulled together to resolve a common problem speaks well for the village and its future. Long may it continue!