A TEAM of six gamekeepers provided a surprise garden makeover for an 88-year-old former colleague.

Wilf Wilson, a retired gamekeeper from Westerdale on the North York Moors, had always been a proud gardener, who kept a productive vegetable patch and an array of beautiful flowers.

He retired in 2005, after 50 years working in the outdoors as a gamekeeper, but in recent years the Wilf saw his health deteriorate and was unable to keep up the maintenance. He struggled to get out of the house with his walking aid due to overgrown grass and weeds.

Jimmy Brough head keeper, on the Rosedale and Westerdale estate and his team of five keepers came to the rescue.

They were determined to help Wilf gain some independence back and restore his garden to some of its former glory.

Jimmy said: “There is a great sense of community and loyalty among keepers and our lads were delighted to give something back to the community – and one of our own. It was a challenge because of the weeds, nettles and hedges but we all got stuck in – even making three new garden gates for Wilf.”

Wilf has lived in the village of Westerdale, on the North York Moors near Ingleby Greenhow, for the past 74 years and took over as head gamekeeper of the Rosedale and Westerdale estate from his late father, who moved there after the war in 1943.

He said: “To me it’s a miracle. I am so thankful for all the time and effort put in by the lads at Rosedale and Westerdale – they really have gone the extra mile.”

The garden area is now ready for rotavating and reseeding and will be completed in the next couple of weeks, once the lawn is established. The gamekeepers have already agreed to maintain the area when required.