Gardener, 81, retires after three decades of service at Bourne care home

Alf Baker during his last day before retirement at The Cedars Care Home, Bourne
Alf Baker during his last day before retirement at The Cedars Care Home, Bourne

A gardener who spent three decades looking after the lawn, flower beds and hanging baskets at a care home has finally retired – at the age of 81.

Hard-working Alf Baker was the first employee at The Cedars Care Home which opened 30 years ago in a former vicarage in Church Walk, Bourne.

Alf, who lives in Harrington Street, joined the business after taking early retirement from South Kesteven District Council’s parks and gardens team.

The garden needed a lot of work, but Alf single-handedly transformed it from an unloved and overgrown mess to an attractive and functional outdoor space.

Alf, whose wife Jean sadly died three years ago, decided to step down from the job after its physical demands became too much for him.

He said: “I really enjoyed working there but it was a big job and it was getting too much.

“I’ve sciatica and there’s a lot of lifting, kneeling, walking and lawn cutting to do which I started to find difficult.

“I had been there for 30 years so I’m sad to leave but I intend to keep in touch because many of the staff and residents became good friends of mine over the years.

“I won’t interfere in the garden though. I’ve retired now and it will be someone else’s job to do that.

“Different gardeners have different ways of doing things and I wouldn’t want to step on anyone’s toes.”

Alf was well-known for his stunning hanging baskets – often having up to 30 on display at The Cedars each summer.

Despite retiring, Alf won’t be giving up on gardening entirely. He has a garden at home with two glasshouses which he uses to propagate his own plants and he intends to continue enjoying time outdoors.

A farewell celebration was held at The Cedars to thank Alf for all of his hard work over the years. Staff had baked a cake and were keen to wish Alf all the best for his well-deserved retirement.

Senior team leader Maureen Hasbury said Alf would be sadly missed.

She said: “Alf took so much pride in the garden and was very popular with the many staff and residents he got to know during his 30 years spent working here.

“He is extremely knowledgeable on all-things gardening and used to write regular articles for our in-house magazine offering advice about what to do in your garden.”