A CARETAKER described as ‘truly inspirational’ has been honoured for dedicating half a century of his working life to Borough of Poole.

Alan Cook, who has worked as caretaker at Upton House for 39 years, first took a job with the council as a gardener in 1964.

Poole Mayor Phillip Eades joined council staff and Alan’s colleagues, past and present, to celebrate his 50 years of service at a ceremony on Monday.

And despite being eligible for retirement, Alan is showing no signs of hanging up his gardening gloves yet.

“It’s wonderful to have so many family and friends celebrate my 50 years’ service,” he said.

“The most important thing for me at work is to have fun and that is what I do. My wife and I came to live at Upton House in 1975 and we’ve been here ever since. The team is fantastic and the garden volunteers are great. Sometimes after a busy day I like to sit down and listen to Andre Rieu to help me relax. I’m 66 now but with music and fun at work I won’t be stopping yet.”

Meanwhile, Cllr Eades described Alan’s milestone as a fantastic achievement. He added: “I’m thrilled to be part of the celebrations to recognise Alan’s hard work and dedication as an employee with Poole for 50 years.

“I remember attending his aunt’s 100th birthday party as one of my first mayoral engagements, so to celebrate this event with Alan is great.”

After starting out as a gardener for the Waterloo area of the town, Alan’s role was increased to include Broadstone Recreation Ground, Wessex Bowling Green and Poole Park Nursery. He started at Upton House in 1975.

Cllr Judy Butt, cabinet member for public engagement and participation at Borough of Poole, said: “Having known Alan for many years I have to congratulate him on this tremendous achievement.

“Alan’s dedication to his role truly is inspirational and I’m pleased so many friends were able to join his celebrations.

“When I visit Upton House this week I look forward to giving Alan a well-deserved pat on the back."