NEXT week will be the last time visitors to Sewerby Hall and Gardens can see a regular fixture at the site.
For next Thursday, October 20, will be the last working day of Sewerby stalwart Martin Foley, who retires after over 37 years in the job.
“I’ll miss the place, but I have mixed feelings. Sad that I will be gone but excited about my retirement,” said Martin, 57, of Bempton Lane.
Martin is currently Customer Services Officer at the Hall, but has performed most tasks at the Hall in his long career.
“I’ve helped out driving the tractor, I’ve done tree work with the chainsaws, I’ve driven the land train on occasions - anything that comes up that needs doing I have tended to do,” continued Martin.
“I think I’ll have a bit of a break from the place when I retire - get on with some DIY and spend more time with the family, my wife Susan and my son David.”
Martin still remembers when he attended an interview at the Hall nearly four decades ago.
“It was August but because of the wonderful British summer, it was of course pouring with rain. I came to the Hall on my motorcycle and was wet through, and was interviewed on the doorstep - maybe they were impressed I had turned up in those conditions.”
Martin has also been in charge of the Cultural Events Programme at the Hall since the mid 90s, a particular highlight of the job.
“We have had marvellous musicians and lecturers packing the Hall out, Terry Waite came and did a talk twice for us which was wonderful. He was supported by Vincent Billington on the piano, just one of the great musicians we have had here.
“People keep saying to me ‘I don’t know what it will be like when you go’ but I am sure things will carry on. I’ve made sure to leave all my computer files for people to look at and I’ve been trying to impart whatever knowledge I have.”
Martin also lived on the estate until the early 90s, and admitted it will always have a special place in his heart.
“I think that whatever the weather, at any time of the year, Sewerby Hall is a wonderful and beautiful place.
“I have seen a number of changes in my time here, but I think the majority of them are sensitively done.”
Martin Burnhill, coastal services manager with special responsibility for Sewerby Hall and Gardens, said: “I’ve worked with Martin in the gardens when he looked after the estate’s trees, landscaped areas and other horticultural works around the site where he first started.
“Throughout those years Martin has aspired to become the Hall Keeper and has had that role since 1996 when East Riding of Yorkshire Council took over from East Yorkshire Borough Council.
“Martin has been a key member of the Sewerby management team and is a very dedicated person. As well as being very thorough and reliable, he is one of those people who beavers away behind the scenes and gets on with the job.
“Martin will be sadly missed by many of his colleagues and friends and will be a very hard act to follow.
“I and all members of the Sewerby management team and all of his friends and colleagues wish him a long and well deserved retirement along with his wife Susan and son David.”