Our series of photographic portraits by Neill Menneer shows Bath people at work
Although I went to a good school in Winchester called the Peter Symonds Grammar School for Boys I didn’t want to stay there for A levels as many of my mates were working and I’d had enough of school. It was at a time when schools were going comprehensive, increasingly left wing and lax.
I got a job at MacMarkets and went from assistant to grocery manager in a few years. The progress pleased me, but the pay was pretty rubbish so I applied for a trainee civil service job. My pay doubled and I learnt a lot about computer programming which I really took to. I ended up working at Worthy Down as an audit clerk and stayed there for ten years.
From there I successfully applied for a similar role with the Admiralty in Gosport. I used my IT skills to manage ships’ stores. It was a fun time in my life and friends and colleagues enjoyed the coastal environment. We used to take the ferry back and forth to Portsmouth for our R&R.
When the work moved to Bath I ended up at Ensleigh. But when the unit transferred to Abbey Wood our work was outsourced to Boeing. I’m public service through and through and didn’t fancy working for a private American company so essentially I retired myself at 54. I was financially sorted enough and had no burning ambition to start all over again. I needed something to do though.
Years ago I had met a man on a coach who was a lollipop man. He told us how much he enjoyed the community role and the connection with the public. This random conversation must have played a part in my decision to apply for a similar role in Bath. I had told myself I wanted no early mornings, no outdoor weather jobs but found myself applying for a position that definitely didn’t meet these criteria. Despite the early start and frequent rain I love lollipopping. I’ve always liked to make people laugh and I have a great rapport with the kids and parents while calming the traffic on Lansdown.
I’ve been in Bath 20 years now and there are so many things I enjoy about it. I also love The Volunteer Rifleman’s Arms and the friendly banter in this tiny Bath pub. Paul is the perfect landlord but don’t tell him that. Since retirement I’ve been working on my bucket list. First year: grow pony tail (not successful), second year: buy scooter (tick!), third year: learn guitar (realised I was not very musical). I’ve always enjoyed Greece and think I imagined myself whizzing round the islands adorned with a guitar and flowing locks.
Many years ago I taught myself Greek. Firstly learning the pronunciation of the alphabet from football fixtures, then taking it further at Trowbridge College. We all live in the past to a certain extent and I still have my wonderful collection of prog rock albums – Genesis, Yes, ELP, Barclay James Harvest, Wishbone Ash all created the soundtrack to my life.
You can hear the music in mind when I stop you on Lansdown to help the children cross. There’s always a Bright side of the Moon!