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45 years at the zoo

By Keith Done

I remember starting at Chester Zoo on 11 August as a Gardener. My dad was a big influence in me starting work at the zoo, as he already worked here as a senior gardener and stayed at the zoo for 18 years. It was quite weird working alongside my dad but I'm glad I did! I remember Mr Gallup, the head gardener at the time, interviewing me for the job. He was very precise, he knew exactly where every single plant was planted!

In the earlier days, the zoo was pretty much family run - if your dad worked here he'd get you some work here too. Or your other half would also help out - my wife worked here for a few years too.

I've stayed here for 45 years as it's a job that I love. During that time I have also worked on the security team, part time. There's great job satisfaction as you can see what you've done in a day, for example potting and planting. We now do a lot of conservation work too, protecting tropical plants that we also have on display in our animal houses.

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