Harold Hill gardener receives Royal Victoria Medal for work at Buckingham Palace
PUBLISHED: 10:00 01 November 2015
The work of a gardener who has tended the lawns of Buckingham Palace for 35 years has been given the royal seal of approval.
Keith Jackson, 58, of Chatteris Avenue, Harold Hill, received the Royal Victoria Medal from Prince William, the Duke of Cambridge , on Tuesday in recognition of his hard work and dedication to making sure the grounds look perfect.
He said: “It was brilliant, absolutely fantastic and even better since my three children were there to watch me receive the medal.
“I was nervous but I am used to being at the palace and around the Royal Family so it wasn’t something too much out of the ordinary.
“A football match was held a couple of years ago on the lawn at the palace, so when the Duke of Cambridge presented me
with the medal, he made a joke asking how the main lawn was now.”
Keith, whose stepfather was also a gardener, worked at a knitting factory in Cornwall for two years but when he was made redundant, his former brother-in-law, who was a gardener at Windsor Castle, told him there was a job opening.
After 10 years potting plants and mowing lawns at Windsor Castle, Keith was transferred to Buckingham Palace where he spent the next 25 years.
He said: “I didn’t know too much about gardening when I was first given the position but I learnt more as I went along.”
He also had the pleasure of meeting pop royalty when stars including Queen guitarist Brian May, Ed Sheeran and Robbie Williams performed at the Diamond Jubilee Concert held at Buckingham Palace in 2012.
He said: “It was a really fun day and great to watch them all perform.”
Keith plans to retire from the palace in a couple of years and instead go into teaching people in the art of gardening.
He said: “I am very, very proud to receive the honour.
“It would be great to share what I know and what I have learnt in the 35 years I have been a gardener for the family.”
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