Council worker retires after 44 years ‘on the bins’

Retiring refuse collector David Bradshaw pictured at Salthill Depot, Clitheroe.
Retiring refuse collector David Bradshaw pictured at Salthill Depot, Clitheroe.

A council worker who has collected refuse from over a million properties during 44 years “on the bins” is to is to hang up his black sacks.

David Bradshaw retires today after clocking up 44 years’ service and covering nearly 200,000 miles on foot collecting refuse in rural Ribble Valley.

David started working for the then Clitheroe Borough Council in 1973 aged 16 and transferred to the refuse collection team at the newly-formed Ribble Valley Borough Council in 1974.

Since then he has collecting refuse come-rain-or-shine from properties throughout the picturesque borough, which has left him fit as a fiddle and with an enthusiasm for nature.

He said: “Things have changed a lot since I started on the bins. In the old days, we collected refuse in old-fashioned dustbins, then we switched to black sacks and in recent years to ‘wheelie’ bins.

“Refuse collection is much more mechanised now, with state-of-the-art hydraulic vehicles, and people recycle a lot more, rather than burning paper and cardboard on open fires.

“We used to collect all sorts in the old days, including dead animals from the vets, but we certainly don’t do that anymore. Refuse collection is understandably a lot more safety-conscious.”

David, who is married to Mary and has a son Kieran, daughter-in-law Holly, grandson Ethan Jack and daughter Laura, said 44 years working outdoors had left him fit and healthy, with an appreciation of wildlife and nature.

“I have seen some incredible wildlife over the years, particularly in the early mornings.

“We rescued a deer from a hedge once and I’ve seen owls, hares, foxes, you name it. The views are spectacular, especially in the Trough of Bowland, and my favourite place is Stocks Reservoir.

“I have enjoyed working outside and like meeting members of the public, the majority of who appreciate what we do.

“Collecting refuse in poor weather is hard work, but the job has to be done and we just get on with it.

“I like the camaraderie and get on well with my colleagues, although have had to chase the wagon up long country lanes once or twice after being left behind!”

David, whose current round is Longridge, Mellor, Whalley, Langho and Wilpshire, has walked nearly 200,000 miles over the years collecting refuse from over a million properties.

Robert Thompson, chairman of Ribble Valley Borough Council’s community services committee, said: “David is a fantastic member of our refuse collection team and popular with colleagues.

“His 44 years’ service to the residents of Ribble Valley is a tremendous achievement and he is a fantastic example of the dedication, care and effort that council employees put into making the borough a great place to live and visit.”

David likes wildlife and walking, and is hoping to do some conservation volunteering during his retirement.