EVELYN Clive, who was Prees Heath Nurseries’ longest serving staff member, retired on 22 June this year (2023) having given almost 40 years’ service. Evelyn joined the company way back in April 1984.

Company owner David Gwillam told how Evelyn’s mother had come into the nursery the week before asking if her daughter could have a job. Evelyn was then working at the nearby poultry farm packing eggs where she wasn’t being paid agricultural rates, not given overtime and was not being treated at all fairly.

“I said she could start the following Monday and to see if she liked the job,” said David. 

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Monday morning came and Evelyn arrived on time, with her mother. What David didn’t realise is that he had employed her, too.

It was soon apparent that the work suited them both. Edna, Eve’s mother, went on to work at Prees Heath Forest Nurseries until she was 86 and only finished because of ill health.

Evelyn soon showed what a reliable and valuable member of staff she was, and was rapidly promoted to charge-hand and then onto foreman. Due to an unforeseen situation 12 years ago, when a former manager left the company abruptly, a key management position remained unfilled. Evelyn was promoted to the position of production manager and thereby took charge of all the outside operations.

During the whole-society meeting of the Royal Forestry Society (RFS) of May 2022, Evelyn was presented with the long-service award. The honour was presented by the then RFS president Sir James Scott. 

“It is with a great deal of gratitude and some sadness after all those thirty-nine years for Evelyn to be leaving the nursery,” said David. “Evelyn will now be able to take things easy and reflect on her successful career with Prees Heath Forest Nurseries.”