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Digger and Dumper Wish Comes True for Building Site Fan John, 84

An 84-year-old care home resident had a birthday wish come true on a Salisbury building site.

John Parfitt, who lives at Braemar Lodge in the city’s Stratford Road, donned a hard hat, hi-viz jacket and tough boots for the chance to sit at the controls of a digger and a dumper truck.

The visit was a hands-on opportunity to check progress on the Colten Care home’s forthcoming extension, Stratford Court.

In his working life, Watford-born John did a range of jobs including being an agency worker on various building sites, hence his interest.

With all safety precautions followed and under close supervision, he was thrilled with the visit.

“I’m happy as Larry,” he said after a few minutes sitting at the controls of the eight-ton digger. “I’ve been looking across from Braemar Lodge, keeping an eye on how it’s all going and seeing the guys driving round. On my birthday in December I asked if I could come on-site and see it for real at a suitable stage and when the weather was good enough. Sitting here I just feel I’m in the right place at the right time. It’s comfortable and you have a sense of the power it can deliver.”

After being in the digger, John went to sit in a three-ton dumper truck, saying: “This is lovely, a great chance to see everything from a different angle out in the fresh air.”

John, who has lived in Salisbury since the 1980s, was accompanied throughout the visit by Site Manager Paul Findlay who explained how the controls on both vehicles work.

Paul said: “It was a real pleasure to give John such a great experience. I could tell he had been on building sites before. He had all the site banter.”

While John was enjoying himself in the digger and dumper, fellow Braemar Lodge residents Catherine Brighty and Pamela Rees were turning ‘detectorists’. They took a metal detector to search for items under the rubble and mud in a small, safe area well away from the main construction site.

 

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