Throwback Thursday: Do you remember when we first met Mr Tidy?
PUBLISHED: 13:50 26 July 2018 | UPDATED: 13:50 26 July 2018
In Throwback Thursday Enjoy Beccles more takes a look back at some of the town's major stories and events from times gone-by.
This week we take a look back at when Peter Smith a.ka. Beccles’ legend Mr Tidy was introduced to the world.
The article below first appeared in the Beccles and Bungay Journal on Friday, September 2, 2005.
The man with a tidy mission by Roy Strowger
Peter Smith was born in Beccles and has a natural pride in the town.
And now he is making a positive contribution to ensure the town centre looks better than ever, both for locals and tourists.
He has just been appointed as the town council’s first Mr Tidy, a cleaner-cum-gardener-cum-handyman who will take on some of the jobs that will Beccles looking tip-top.
And he is happy to span the gulf between Bungay, where he know lives, and Beccles, his home town.
“I think when you are born and brought up in a community you feel that it is nice to give something back,
I’m glad the job came up and am pleased to be doing it”, he said.
Peter is particularly delighted to be back at work, and enjoying an outdorr life, after five years unemployed,
“I didn’t even know about the job till someone at Lowestoft mentioned it to me”, he said.
“I was interviewed one morning and they gave me the job in the afternoon.”
His first few days have been spent cleaning and tidying the area around St Michael’s Church, where there was a Festival of Music and Flowers over the weekend. He wanted visitors to see it and its best.
But he has a plan to extend his work to the Town hall and around the main square, whether it is removing the litter, trimming grass, sweeping leaves or just tidying.
He will be putting in 34 hours a week, on a flexible bases, which will leave plenty of time for his other great passion – bowls.
He was playing for the Thurlton outdoor and Beccles indoor clubs and has an ambition to qualify as an umpire.
Peter was recruited under the Wage 2 Work scheme – set up with the Suffolk Association of Voluntary Organisations (SAVO), Suffolk Acre and JoobcentrePlus – to put people who have been long-term unemployed into paid employment.
It works through a voluntary organisation, which in the case of Beccles is Waveney Enterprise Workshops.
Free training is available to Peter and Waveney Enterprise staff.
The Government-funded initiative has provided many new jobs in the Waveney Valley and helped many local voluntary organisations.
If the job proves a success and an asset to Beccles, the aim will be to keep the position going through Beccles Town Council, Beccles Business Association and local trusts.
Waveney District council has provided Peter’s barrow and protective clothing for the job.