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Dedicated refuse supervisor celebrates 70th birthday

  • Mick Wright

A refuse supervisor who has been collecting waste in Charnwood for over 50 years is celebrating a milestone birthday today.

Charnwood Borough Council and its waste partner Serco would like to wish Mick Wright a very happy 70th birthday and thank him for over 50 years of service.

A familiar face to many residents in the borough, Mick started as a refuse collector for Barrow Upon Soar Rural District Council in 1968. His first collection round took place in Birstall. He then trained as a HGV class 2 driver before moving into his current role as a supervisor in 2001 which is what he has been doing ever since.

Throughout his 52 years of service, Mick has worked for a range of different companies which secured the Council’s waste contract including Sita, Onyx which became Veolia and more recently Serco which have been the Council’s waste partner since 2009.

Mick supervises around 20 crews which collect refuse, recycling and garden waste from 75,000 homes in the borough. He helps to co-ordinate the daily operation and resolves any issues which may arise including broken down vehicles, route changes and staff absences.

Working on the bins also runs in the family as his son Chris followed in his dad’s footsteps and joined the team in 1991 as a refuse collector before becoming a HGV driver.

As well as his brilliant knowledge of the borough, Mick is said to be very supportive of his refuse crews who have continued to deliver a frontline service during the coronavirus pandemic by collecting refuse, recycling and garden waste across Charnwood.

Even though it’s his 70th birthday, Mick is still at work today and says he’s not planning on retiring anytime soon. He says he’s looking forward to spending some time with his family next week and going on long walks at Bradgate Park.

Mick Wright, refuse supervisor at Serco said: “It may be a milestone birthday, but I can honestly say I enjoy my job and I’m not planning on retiring anytime in the near future as I want to keep myself active. 

 “Every job comes with ups and downs but even with the early mornings and the cold and wet weather, I can genuinely say I thoroughly enjoy what I do.

“When I was a refuse collector, I used to enjoy seeing different things every day and seeing regular faces. My job as a supervisor is a bit different and although sometimes I miss going out on a round with the crews, I enjoy using my knowledge and experience to support them.

“Our crews always work hard but particularly over the past three months during the pandemic, they have been fantastic. Some staff members have cancelled their leave to come to work and ensure we can still carry out collecting recycling and waste through this difficult time.

“We’ve been overwhelmed by the support from members of the public. It’s been great to see the positive messages; thank you cards and some of the gifts. Everyone has been so kind. Some of the cards and posters are in the crew’s cabs and I know I speak on behalf of them all when I say how grateful we all are.”

In his spare time, Mick enjoys walking his dog Rookie and spending time with his family. He’s also an avid Leicester City fan and enjoys listening to his favourite band The Beatles.

Cllr Harper-Davies, the Council’s lead member for major contracts said: “On behalf of the Council I’d like to wish Mick a very happy 70th birthday. Our refuse collectors deliver a very important frontline service to residents every day and the fact Mick has been doing it for over 50 years is phenomenal.

“We know our crews work hard each day but they’ve been doing an excellent job throughout this pandemic so as well as thanking Mick for his long term service on his birthday, I’d also like to thank his colleagues at the depot for the work they are continuing to do.”

Jo Mortimer, contract manager at Serco said: “Mick is a pleasure to work with every day. His knowledge of the borough and the job is fantastic, which is what you would expect after 52 years of service!

“Everyone at Serco would like to wish Mick many happy returns on his 70th birthday and even though he is at work on his birthday, we hope he enjoys spending some time with his family to mark the occasion next week.”