James first worked at the park as part of an apprenticeship scheme in 2013 where he was able to develop his ever-present passion for horticulture into a realistic career path and gaining a Level 3 Diploma in Work Based Horticulture. During this time, he was able to contribute to several big projects, most notably the overhaul of the millennium maze with the Highfield Helpers which played a big part in turning it into the lush, leafy labyrinth we have today.
At the close of the fixed term he went on to work at Chiltern Forrest Golf Club as a green keeper, into a small construction business, and most recently has been working in a retail a manufacturing company for his other passion paddle sports. He feels that all these experiences will bring good worth back to the job he loved the most at Highfield Park.
When not working James dedicates his time to canoeing. This ranges from gentle summer afternoon cruising to ultra-distance marathon races such as the 125-mile Devizes to Westminster canoe race in which he won the Canoe doubles class in 2014 in a time of 19.46.41. Slightly more exotic have been his ventures in outrigger canoeing (think Hawaii Five-0) that has seen him travel to Hawaii for the Molokai Hoe, a 46-mile race between the islands of Molokai and Oahu, and also to Tahiti where he represented Great Britain at the VA’A world distance championship in solo and six man racing.
He is delighted to be returning to Highfield Park and is excited to maintain and develop the work that has been going on throughout the park via the hard work of trustees and staff for the last 23 years.