Green-fingered Alan pens book on life in Preston’s parks

Alan Rampling
Alan Rampling
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After more than five decades working in Preston’s parks, former head gardener Alan Rampling has written a book about his green-fingered life.

Alan, 68, began work aged 15 doing “all the jobs nobody else wanted to do”, and retired last year as nursery head gardener at Miller Park.

Alan Rampling, the former head gardener at Preston Council, has written a book about his life

Alan Rampling, the former head gardener at Preston Council, has written a book about his life

He has now penned his first book - A Nipper’s Tale - and is working on his second novel and even a sitcom based on his time with the parks team.

The grandfather-of-eight, who lives in Ashton, Preston, said he began writing a “few headlines” several years ago, and has now had A Nippers Tale published.

He said: “It’s all the tales and stories, all the incidents we got up to, things the council doesn’t know about.

“It’s all the different things we got up to, and remembering all the odd-ball characters we used to have as well.”

Alan added a prequel to the book, going back to when he was a young child, and so the story is in two parts.

He said: “I first went for the job in 1963 and the boss said ‘When can you start?’

“I said Monday, and that was the interview.

“He said we’ll give you a review in six months and after 52 years I was still waiting, so when I retired I assumed I had passed it.”

Alan’s book is about his life working on Preston’s parks, and also includes poems he has written.

He said: “My first book is a tentative step into the world of writing.

“The second book, The Nipper’s Journey, hopefully will be out next year.

“And on top of that, I’m also writing a sitcom based on the characters and incidents that went on.

“It’s called Park Lads, and it’s set in the fictitious town of Presley City Council.

“It’s just a reflection of life, and it’s all influenced by the people I’ve known.

“I’ve put words into their mouths, and it’s just the banter between them.”

His first book is now on sale, and he said: “I’m just an ordinary guy, I make some mistakes, I’ve had a lot of experiences, some are good, some are bad, some are indifferent, and they are all in that book.”

Explaining the book title, he said: “The nipper is the name all the young lads who started with the parks department were called, you weren’t known by your first name.

“You were well below the first rung of the ladder, you did all the jobs nobody else wanted to do.”