Construction News

Fri September 25 2020

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Britain's oldest digger driver plans to work to 100

28 Sep 11 Handyman George Evans, aged 92, has taken delivery of a new JCB excavator and plans to keep working to the age of 100.

Having already built his own house single-handedly, the second world war veteran is now landscaping his back garden in Frankley, Birmingham with his new JCB 8008 micro excavator.

“Hard work and staying active is the secret of my good health," he said. "The JCB machine is my godsend. With its help, I aim to be still working on the garden at the age of 100.”

JCB UK and Ireland sales director Yvette Henshall-Bell said: “George is without doubt JCB’s oldest customer and the oldest driver of a JCB excavator in the UK. We are delighted he has once again invested in a brand new JCB machine and look forward to him placing a further order in the future.”

The 8008 is Mr Evans' second digger from dealer Gunn JCB. His first, purchased three years ago, was an ex-demonstration machine that he used to clear out premises he also owns a few doors away.

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Apprenticed as a joiner, he worked for Harris & Sheldon Group before he and his wife Ethel moved to Frankley in 1958 to run a shop. Shortly before his retirement George bought adjacent land from the council for £4,000 and, following a lengthy planning process, started out on a three-year project to build his own house. The couple now live on the first floor of the two-bedroom property while renting out the ground floor to a floristry business.

“I built the house from scratch completely on my own,” said George. “I never had a labourer and managed without scaffolding. I put the plumbing in, and the central heating, and I did the plastering.”

Afterwards he built up the back garden of the house by six feet by using soil and rubble that was surplus from the works site next door. Now Mr Evans, who even welded his own garden gates, plans to excavate the garden area fully before putting in a lawn and paving.

“I’ve taken delivery of the new JCB digger using my old one as part-exchange,” he said. “I’ve got all sorts of bricks and boulders which I need to move, and these days I need a bit of help with the lifting. Landscaping the garden is the latest example of the way I like to do things myself. I don’t smoke and I only drink the occasional glass of lager on special occasions – it’s the outdoor life that I love.”

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