SOME 19 years back, essentialARB featured a story about a young chap who just couldn’t wait to get started in the industry – 2-year-old Ollie Stanford.

Nigel Stanford, owner of Northampton-based Stanford Tree Care, sent some pictures of his son kitted out with his own helmet and (plastic) chainsaw – safety first, of course. “Even at the tender age of two, Oliver is showing a keen interest in arboriculture,” the article read. Well, his interest never waned, and we’re delighted to see that Ollie, now 21, has taken up the family business and followed through with a career in arb.

“The original photo came about because Ollie always loved to look at essentialARB when he was little. We thought it would be funny to send in the pictures of the budding tree surgeon, never expecting that he would go into the business, although you could see he was interested from an early age,” said Ollie’s mum, Joanne.

“As soon as Nigel was home from work, Ollie would put on his chainsaw boots and try and walk in them, same with his helmet. He would try and climb everything in our garden and if Nigel was doing anything, he would be there trying to help. That’s when we captured the picture of Ollie at the top of the ladder – you couldn’t take your eyes off him for a moment!”Forestry Journal: The original essentialARB article about Stanford Tree Care’s newest recruit.The original essentialARB article about Stanford Tree Care’s newest recruit.

Upon leaving school, Ollie considered a career in farming. He started a college course but didn’t take to it. He explained: “The course I started was slow and frustrating, and I wanted to get on with work. I always enjoyed helping Dad and so asked to be transferred to an arboriculture apprenticeship course at the college. Unfortunately, they weren’t operating it that year. I therefore had to pay for training at a private arboriculture training centre, which worked out well as it was full-on training, no sitting around waiting for the next lesson. It meant that I could be out on jobs much sooner.”

Ollie continued: “My first memory of tree work is helping Dad take a thorn tree down in our garden and him teaching me the safety aspects, even back then. He has always been a good teacher, very patient, and we get on well, which is a bonus. Obviously, we have the odd disagreement, mainly about who is going to do the climbing. Now that I have a bit more experience, I want to do it more. I’m sure Dad must be one of the oldest tree surgeons still climbing in the country.”

Forestry Journal: Nigel showing Ollie the basics, way back when.Nigel showing Ollie the basics, way back when.

Nigel is very pleased that his son has followed in his footsteps, and is thankful to have him on board, especially with how busy the business has been of late.

“It makes me really proud when customers say what a great job Ollie has done,” Nigel said. “He’s obviously got that eye for detail like his dad.”

Forestry Journal: The Stanford Tree Care team at work (Ollie on the right, with Nigel sitting).The Stanford Tree Care team at work (Ollie on the right, with Nigel sitting).

So, what does the future hold for this family firm? Nigel added: “In the current circumstances, there are no plans to expand. You don’t have to be a large company to give a good service and standard. You get more of a personal service with a smaller company, people get to know you. It will be down to Ollie in the future though; he’s only 21 now and I didn’t start until I was 24. Who knows, he may want to pursue this career in New Zealand or Canada. Watch this space.”

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