Bob Holdawanski, the Trust’s head gardener, retired last week after 30 years of making the grounds of St George’s look grand!

Bob’s career at St George’s began in October 1989 and he had a huge impact in making sure the grounds team did so much more than just pick up cigarette butts. Bob was also instrumental in helping to establish Project Search at St George’s, with a number of students doing placements with the team, and even going on to join the team on a permanent basis.

When asked about some of his highlights, Bob told us: “The grounds at St George’s have won nine awards over the years, including London in Bloom and a number of golds for Wandsworth in Bloom. Also, for me, just changing the gardens is a highlight.

“I try to make sure the entrances have great colour to cheer everyone up, and people do appreciate the effort.”

Bob and the team also play a key role in keeping the site safe during the winter months, and it is a source of personal pride for Bob that the St George’s site has never experienced serious disruption or closure due to bad weather. Last winter, BBC London featured Bob in its ‘London’s hi-vis heroes’ film, which has had over 60,000 views so far!

Bob isn’t quite finished with St George’s yet though, he plans to come back for a few days a week to help with the transition for our new head gardener.

On his plans for retirement, Bob said: “I love to travel and am a bit of a photographer. I’ve lived in London for 40 years but I haven’t really travelled around much, so I want to travel to the end of every Tube line. I hope to find out why Cockfosters is called Cockfosters!”

Jenni Doman, Deputy Director, Estates and Facilities and Mary Prior, Acting Assistant Director of Facilities, said: “Bob is a St George’s legend and has provided 30 years of wonderful, dedicated service to the Trust. Countless patients, visitors and staff have enjoyed his work on our gardens, making them a big part of the healing environment.

“Bob has done so much more as well, from supporting fellow members of staff, to raising money for charity. Thank you Bob and all the best for your retirement!”