John Uzzel has seen it all in his 15 years as a ground worker at Lower Mill Estate and is our longest serving member of staff, what John doesn’t know about the estate really isn’t worth knowing!
John’s story begins all the way back in the ‘60s, when Lower Mill Estate was a far cry from the serene, tranquil nature reserve we all know and love today; during its former life as a gravel quarry John was one of the men charged with collecting and transporting thousands of tonnes of gravel by the lorry-load from our site to build the M4 and M5 motorways. John, his friends and their trusty Ruston-Bucyrus Dragline collected all of the raw material they could muster and inadvertently dug some of the beautiful clear water lakes we all enjoy today.
Fast forward a few decades to 2000 and John begins his 15 year (and counting) association with Lower Mill Estate. One of John’s very first jobs was to help archeologists strip the top soil from Mill Village to see if there were any hidden treasures buried beneath the hallowed turf. Mill Village 14-21 were the first homes to be constructed on the estate and John remembers watching them being built from start to finish. Now, as we near the completion of our latest ground breaking design, The Habitat House, John says he is amazed at how far the development has come and can’t wait to see what we come up with next.
John’s funniest, and incidentally most painful, memory working at Lower Mill came in 2004 when he was transporting some sheep from our nature reserve to a local market with our now Managing Director Will Vicary. John unloaded the sheep when he arrived at the market and turned to lock the trailer behind them, when he turned again he was confronted by a stampede of frightened sheep “baa-baaing” their way back towards the trailer! Something had spooked them and John was a helpless sitting duck. The sheep collided into John’s knee and hurt him quite badly, resulting in quite a few months off work and a rather funny story to tell the grandchildren.
John has loved his time working at Lower Mill and says he hopes it can continue long into the future. He has particularly high praise for our late owner, Jeremy Paxton, who was very helpful throughout John’s injury and allowed him plenty of time to recover with full pay. John is in charge of the maintenance of Mill Village, which is looking better each year and maturing beautifully over time. If you see John around the estate, be sure to say hello and offer a few words of appreciation for the marvelous work he does making Mill Village such a wonderful place to live.Back to news