I first met Pete approx 25 years ago at a training day at the National Comp site close to Outwood in Surrey, if I remember correctly his pick up had been kicked by a horse which caved the side in.
My grandfather had mentioned Pete to me as he frequently attended our local ploughing matches and Pete had quite often won the hedgelaying comp, over the years I had a few opportunities the do some hedging with Pete, and also helped him cleave out chestnut stakes at Nutfield Priory for a huge job that Pete and Bob Whittaker were undertaking in total the stakes numbered 1000,s so plenty of good experience.
As far as hedging goes Pete's record at the Nationals will probably never be bettered well not in my lifetime he was a superb hedger, his stake lines were greatly admired by all, instead of saying hello he would just say “I hope that’s straight” and laugh at you but it stuck in my head rather!
I remember at the Chew Valley Nationals it had rained all throughout the comp, after getting some food I returned to the hedge to load up my tools, Pete was walking up with someone and said “well you can go home” I laughed and thought oh well. Later they day I was fortunate enough to win.
Recently I have been working at Boxhill in Surrey and in the early 80's Pete had laid the hedges on both sides of the road. I relaid one of them last year and have been back last week to do the hedge at the top of the property.
Opposite the entrance to the farm I could see the edge of a sign and when I took a closer look sure enough it was one of Pete’s in the bottom of the hedge so I rescued it and it’s being cleaned so I can keep it as a reminder of the man I admired most.
I'm sure we all have some great memories of Pete and these words are part of mine he gave his advice freely and I liked that about him. Lastly, it is so very sad that Pete has passed away, what a huge loss he is to the hedging world.
Out and about with SEHLS
promoting and teaching hedge laying in Kent, Sussex, Surrey and Hampshire.