Independent School Parent
Unsung Hero HANDCROSS PARK
Over 17 years, Head Groundsman Alan Atkins has demonstrated the utmost dedication where anything asked of him is never too much – making him a worthy recipient of this award
Alan Atkins joined Handcross Park 17 years ago as Head Groundsman. Under his tender and loving care, the 52-acre Handcross Park site now rivals any National Trust garden you could find. Alan’s dedication to ensuring the children enjoy their childhood in a magical and idyllic setting is simply remarkable. Alan manages the entire site alone with very little help and really is such a huge part of the success of the school. Alan is the first to arrive and the last to leave Handcross Park each day, ensuring that the whole school is warm and welcoming. Nothing is ever too much trouble, and he always carries out his never-ending list of jobs with a smile. Alan is always on hand to help with any crisis that arises, be that digging a parent’s car out of the snow, retrieving a football from a tree, rescuing a deer trapped in the cricket nets or helping a pupil carry heavy belongings.
Alan puts his work at the school as a priority, even coming in on Christmas Day each year to ensure that the animals are fed and the site is secure.
EVERYONE AT HANDCROSS HAS HUGE GRATITUDE FOR ALL ALAN’S loyalty, efforts and continued devotion to the school, AND HE’S THE INCREDIBLY WORTHY RECIPIENT OF THE UNSUNG HERO OF THE YEAR AWARD
A kind and gentle man who is unfailing in his good humour, whatever the situation, Alan’s wisdom and deep knowledge and understanding of the history and workings of the Handcross Park grounds is truly incredible. Alan takes charge of all the big school events, such as setting up sports days, school fairs, theatre productions, bonfire night and looking after all the pitches.
Last year, Alan received the tragic news that he has terminal throat cancer. Throughout his chemotherapy and operations, Alan has remained in school and dedicated to his job. Despite the intensive treatment and effects of this on his body (Alan is now unable to speak or eat properly), Alan continues to smile and carry out his duties to the most incredible standard: his strength of character is remarkable.
Everyone at Handcross Park has huge gratitude for all Alan’s loyalty, efforts and continued devotion to the school, and he’s the incredibly worthy recipient of this year’s Unsung Hero of the Year Award. handcrossparkschool.co.uk