Search

Chainsaw mum is student of the year

PUBLISHED: 07:37 23 June 2006 | UPDATED: 11:04 22 October 2010

She may be able to juggle being the mother of two teenage children with work as a student and professional gardener, but she also has an unusual skill for a woman - she's a dab hand with a chainsaw and has a qualification to prove it.

She may be able to juggle being the mother of two teenage children with work as a student and professional gardener, but she also has an unusual skill for a woman - she's a dab hand with a chainsaw and has a qualification to prove it.

She was the only woman in the group of students involved in this specialist training, part of a tough horticultural course for Emma Hill, who works for the National Trust in the gardens at Oxburgh Hall, near Swaffham.

Head gardener Graham Donachie, said: "She may be a very slim, very small lady but I tell you something - she's bloody good with a chainsaw."

And today all the skills and knowledge she has acquired over the last few years will be recognised when she receives the Horticultural Student of the Year Award at Easton Agricultural College, Norwich.

Her ambition is to become a head gardener for the National Trust and in the meantime, after qualifying from college in a couple of weeks, she intends to continue studying a bee-keeping course.

It's all part of a future that Emma, of East Lexham, near Swaffham, has mapped out for herself ever since she began as a student at Easton College and started working at Oxburgh Hall about four years ago.

Yesterday, the 36-year-old mother of Jacob, 18, and Daisy, 15, said she was delighted to have been given the top student's award.

"I was very surprised and flattered and a little bit embarrassed. It was a very tough course, so I'm very pleased. The children are proud of me, too."

She added: "When I did the chainsaw course, I was the only woman in a group of men but they were fine, lovely, really good - they helped me out if I needed it and I helped them when they needed it."

Oxburgh's head gardener, Graham Donachie, said: "I'm delighted that Emma's hard work and talents have been recognised by her college. She'll tackle anything and is always eager to learn new skills.

"She is without doubt one of the best gardeners we have ever had at Oxburgh Hall."

He added: "Emma is an even greater asset to us because she has the chainsaw certificate.

"It means she can do work we would normally have to put out to contract, like cutting up and felling smaller trees, which saves us money."

Mr Donachie said: "She has worked very hard, with lots of study. She deserves this success and we are very proud of her."


If you value what this story gives you, please consider supporting the Eastern Daily Press. Click the link in the orange box above for details.

Become a supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years. Our industry faces testing times, which is why we're asking for your support. Every contribution will help us continue to produce local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Latest from the Eastern Daily Press