Last week, the Eton College Grounds Department won second place in the Grounds Management Association Industry Awards (GMA) 2022. The Eton College team were awarded runner-up in the Independent School Grounds Team of the Year category and were competing with other grounds teams up and down the country. Earlier this week, I sat down with our Grounds Manager Lee Marshallsay to get an insight into the wider work of the Grounds Department.
The Eton Grounds Department is made up of a 30-strong workforce who are split into three teams: sports, gardens and landscapes. The sports team manage the playing fields all year round, ensuring the lines are painted precisely for fixtures in the winter and that the pitches are mown to perfection for cricket in the summer. The gardens team look after the areas around each boarding House, making them look tidy and colourful. In contrast, the landscapes team deal with larger elements of Eton College’s grounds, working on the trees, hedges and fences and on the grounds at Dorney Lake.
Mr Marshallsay, who has been at the helm for two years, conveyed how much the team love the variety in their roles, including adding irrigation pipes to the golf courses and re-wilding certain areas of the grounds to boost biodiversity. Mr Marshallsay was pleased with how much progress has been made with regards to increasing awareness of the importance of maintaining natural environments and habitats. He is keen to continue the partnership between the Grounds Department and the Environmental Action group to re-wild areas such as Queen’s Schools Wildlife Area, located underneath the small bridge leading to Eton High Street.
The work of the Grounds Department is always evolving. Finishing as runners-up in such a competitive field is testament to the tireless work of Mr Marshallsay and his team. Many congratulations!