"My wife tells me I work too hard but I haven't ever worked hard — I just enjoy it."
Those were the words of Bognor Regis stalwart Gordon Hollox, who still works full-time at the age of 90, after he was seen to be spending his time off by clearing unsightly weeds from the grass verge outside his and his neighbours' houses in Wessex Avenue, Aldwick.
City Irrigation Limited managing director Gordon, who work colleagues have described as 'Bognorian through and through', raised eyebrows when he was seen 'doing the council's job' last week.
Sending in a picture of his hard at work boss to the Observer, David Emerson, sales and marketing manager at City Irrigation's Bognor centre at Chalcroft Nurseries Garden Centre, said: "Gordon is a Bognorian through and through and has seen a lot of changes.
"He decided to do the council's work himself as he was getting tired of not just his own road but all over Bognor.
"There has been no weed clearing of paths and roads, so starting on his little piece outside his house, he is hoping that more people will be encouraged by his efforts to do outside their properties and make Bognor a little bit smarter."
'We have reduced the amount of weed spraying carried out in previous years'
West Sussex County Council said it was aware that residents and community groups have undertaken weed or verge clearance ‘to improve the aesthetics of where they live’.
A spokesman said: “We applaud those like Gordon who show this community spirit.
“We have reduced the amount of weed spraying carried out in previous years to help increase the number of pollinator habitats around the county and because of the need to focus our limited financial resources on areas of greatest need, primarily on highway safety as a priority.
“We will continue to carry out selective weed spraying using non-herbicides in paved areas as necessary and our officers will remove any significant weeds they come across which are causing an immediate safety issue.”
'Working and doing something you enjoy gives you pleasure and satisfaction'
Gordon, who runs his business in Bromley and Bognor, said he has been 'very active all my life'.
"I am born and bred Bognor," he said.
"The council are good here, the gardens are very good, but it is impossible for the council to sort them out. I come from a generation which cared greatly [but] people don't care as much about these things anymore.
"I done up three gardens, including my own last week. It was spontaneous, it was not at all planned.
"Neighbours are not usually friendly or helpful but I am lucky. It was nice that I could help them.
"I just get on with it. I didn't ask the council to do it, even though they should. I love working and I love my garden.
"I didn't think it would be of any interest but the neighbour took a picture of me and said 'you can't be doing that at your age Gordon'. I showed it to a colleague at work and I didn't believe him when he said he sent it to the paper!"
Gordon said not keeping busy and doing nothing is the 'quickest way to die' as an elderly person.
"My brothers retired early," he said.
"You can get old quicker out of sheer boredom.
"I work with people a lot younger than me [but] working and doing something you enjoy gives you pleasure and satisfaction. I love my job.
"My wife tells me I work too hard but I haven't ever worked hard. I just enjoy it.
"I will keep going whilst I've still got something to offer."
Gordon, who has been an irrigation engineer since 1963, said he has worked in various countries including; Israel, Guernsey and Australia, working as a liaison and developing systems.
He said: "I left Chichester High School at 16 during the war. I did national service but [when I came back] in 1944, Bognor had nothing to offer.
"I wouldn't say I had an ambition to be an irrigator, I just needed a job and I ended up loving it.
"I started City Irrigation Limited in Bromley in 1982. I have 12 staff in Bromley and three in Bognor, who match my own enthusiasm.
"Technology is taking over [but] I still work five and a half days a week, as I do Saturday mornings.
"I have enjoyed it all my life."