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Can you dig it?

Date: 18 April 2017

World champion 'shoveller' helps British Gypsum team upgrade Nottinghamshire village hall car park

When six team mates from British Gypsum got together to volunteer for a community project in Kingston-on-Soar, little did they know they had some very unusual expertise amongst them…

The group, made up of colleagues from the Geological and Mining Services and Environment departments, teamed up to spread more than 10 tonnes of stone to help improve the Village Hall car park. This hard, manual work was made easier with the discovery of two ready-made shovelling ‘coaches’ in the team.  Graduate Mining Engineer Huw Wright is a former World Champion ‘Shoveller’, having been part of the team which won the International Mining Games in America in 2016; and Joe Flack, a former coal mine manager (Hayroyds Colliery) who has honed his skills in ‘how to dig on your knees’!

British Gypsum’s Mineral and Estates Manager, Jeremy Elvins, said: “It was a hot and humid day when we went along to help Kingston-on-Soar Parish Council out by moving the stone that had been kindly donated by the Murphy Group, following their recent rail bridge upgrade works at the Sutton Bonington crossroads. But the work was made easier and more enjoyable with the discovery of the World Champion Shoveller and the expert miner among our colleagues!

“Whilst Huw won his shovelling ‘crown’ last year, he clearly hasn’t lost his winning technique; and Joe gave us a very useful demonstration in how to dig kneeling down which was a pre-requisite for coal miners in days gone by.

“As a company, we like to help local community projects with in-kind support and sometimes with offers of teams of people and time.  By getting together the two teams from British Gypsum, we were able to efficiently move the stone to make much needed improvements to the car park at the Village Hall, a very busy community hub.”

British Gypsum Graduate Mining Engineer Huw Wright added: “It was great to be part of the Camborne School of Mines team which won the shovelling competition at the International Intercollegiate Mining Games in Montana last year.  And whilst I am not sure about the ‘champion shoveller’ title, it was a real pleasure to use these skills as part of the British Gypsum team working to improve facilities for people in Kingston-on-Soar!”

Kingston-on-Soar Parish Council Chair, Mark Johnson was also part of the team moving the stone to revamp the car park.  He said: “The Parish Council is very appreciative of the tremendous amount of 'manual labour' undertaken by the British Gypsum team; and we certainly would not have got to the stage we are at with the Village Hall car park without them.”

British Gypsum team upgrade Nottinghamshire village hall car park