Home Community and neighbourhoods Knowsley Hall gardener marks 60 years service

Knowsley Hall gardener marks 60 years service

by Jonathan Kearney

Chris Railton, a member of the Parks & Gardens team on the Knowsley Estate, is celebrating his Diamond Work Anniversary after being rewarded as the Estate’s longest-serving employee, having tended to the gardens and grounds for the past 60 years.

Owners of Knowsley Hall & Estate, Lord and Lady Derby, presented Chris with a long service award to celebrate his distinguished career, which started at Knowsley Estate when he was 15 years old.

Over the years, 75-year-old Chris has looked after the gardens set in the 2,500 acre park around Knowsley Hall. He’s taken great pride in keeping them green and lush and brimming full of colourful flowers and plants to provide beautiful backdrops for thousands of wedding photos, whilst also helping create breathtaking landscapes for visiting guests to enjoy.

In fitting fashion, the hard-working gardener can now sit and enjoy his own garden after being presented with a garden bench complete with a plaque of appreciation from Lord and Lady Derby. Chris will also be taking a well-deserved break after receiving holiday vouchers as gesture of thanks for all his work, as well as a specially made crystal glass award to celebrate his 60 years at Knowsley Estate.

Chris, who lives locally in Knowsley Park, said: “I absolutely love working at Knowsley Estate. It’s great being outdoors and calling such a tranquil, natural setting my office! It does get a bit cold working outside in the winter, but it’s great driving the tractor and you can’t beat the fresh air.”

As well as gardening, Chris has also worked on the Estate’s farm during his 60-year career, with delivering new-born calves a particular highlight. The 75-year-old is now taking it slightly easier, working one-day-per-week in the gardens.

Lord Derby said: “I can’t think of any people who’ve worked with the same organisation for 60 years, and who’ve done so with such enthusiasm and passion. It’s been a real privilege to reward Chris’ achievements and dedication, and to see how the gardens have quite literally grown with his career.”