Moles, wasps, mice and rats – they’re pests and we want rid of them.
Terry Wilkinson is glad about that because that’s what has kept him in work for years, firstly alongside his role as game-keeper and for the last ten to 20 years as a pest controller.
He’s young looking for his 68 years, and puts that down to his active, outdoor lifestyle. His wife Milly explains away the fact that she doesn’t look 69 thanks to hard work, firstly with Terry in pest control, but now largely looking after their large home and garden in Raven’s Bank, Whaplode St Catherine.
Terry has no plans to retire from the business, despite the early starts and hard work, saying he’s as busy now as ever.
“If you retire you pop off, so you might as well keep going. While I can work, I will.
“There are always going to be moles and rats,” he says.
Something else is also true. We may want rid of the pests that damage our sports fields and lawns, but many of us (particularly females, Terry finds) are squeamish about the process of eliminating them.
Terry says: “My job is killing things whichever way you look at it. People ring me because they want something killing.”
It’s provided a happy life for Terry, and a fulfilling one because, as a young boy at school in Kirton, while other lads dreamed of becoming a firefighter, all he ever wanted was to be a game keeper.
He achieved that after a few years spent firstly as a deck hand on the pilot boats at Fosdyke and then doing farm work. The farm work brought him into closer contact with something he has grown to appreciate over the years, wildlife and nature.
He and his sons Garry, Paul and Mark – and now 15-year-old grandson Harvey too – all go shooting together, but these days Terry is the one looking around him while the others shoot.
He says: “I don’t like killing things in that sense. I would sooner see them running about and flying about now. I have had enough.
“I definitely appreciate wildlife more and more as I get older. I shall go with them, but I won’t shoot. I can just stand with one of the boys, and have a drink.”