Eaton greenkeeper Mick marks 40 years working in ‘paradise’

Eaton's head greenkeeper Mick Lathrope has notched up a memorable milestone of 40 years in the job and has no plans to hang up his rake any time soon.

'I love being outside, and I've always been quite keen on the nature side of things, birds and trees and that sort of thing,' said Lathrope. 'I know that we're only two miles from the city centre but it can be so quiet some mornings especially early mornings it's lovely. It is my own bit of paradise.

'I've loved it. I'm 65 next year and I can't see myself retiring any time soon. As long as I can keep reasonably fit and healthy that will do me. When you're at home there is only so much decorating you can do.

'To be head greenkeeper for 40 years is not very common and it's something I'm very proud of. I'm chuffed to bits. I'm lucky to be in the right place.'

Lathrope, who was presented with a silver-painted rake by his colleagues at a presentation to mark his long-service, added: 'When I left school all I wanted to do was work outside. My dad worked in a factory and I didn't fancy that much.

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'When I left school the careers bloke said that there was a job going as an apprentice greenkeeper. I didn't even know what that was. We were in the middle of a council estate just outside London so you don't get to know much about the vibe outdoors.'

In the 40 years Lathrope has worked at Eaton he estimates he's planted about 8000 trees and seen the club go from strength to strength, especially since it was bought by the members in 1996. He's also witnessed a memorable hole in one.

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He said: 'We have seen a few sights. There was a lady standing on the first tee and she mishit the ball and the first tee is right close to the eighteenth green and the ball rolled across the green and right down the hole. She had gone from the first tee to the 18th green in one shot. That will always stand out, that was absolutely brilliant.

'When I first came here it was on a 21-year lease and people used to think there wasn't much point in doing much as in 21 years we might not have it.

'So it stumbled along like that until we actually bought it. The members own the club now and it has gone from strength to strength.'

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