WHILE the firefighters on Llantysilio mountain have been attracting recent headlines, a pensioner has been battling the heat to look after a somewhat smaller green space and help his community.

Andrew Phillips, 70, has lived in Ruthin for nearly 40 years with his partner, Lizabeth, who is also retired.

Three years ago, Mr Phillips noticed a council-owned flower bed on the corner of Park Road, near the busy Denbigh Road had been reduced to nothing but soil and, upon contacting Ruthin council, he was told its upkeep could no longer be afforded.

From a generation that isn’t afraid to get off its feet and do something themselves, Mr Phillips could not stand by. With time on his side, he decided to take on the project alone, with the hope that there would one day be a respectable flower display to represent the town.

Since then Mr Phillips has consistently planted and watered the flower bed, travelling to and from the display in his van with five 25 litre containers and milk bottles filled with water.

Mr Phillips said: “The beds were a bit of a mess at the time; there was no display at all. It did not make a very good advert for Ruthin.

“I contacted the town clerk who said the council could no longer afford the upkeep.”

Mr Phillips said he “doesn’t know much about council finances” but has a wealth of experience in gardening as he has been at it for 40 years. He added: “I decided to take the project on and I’m very pleased about what it has done for the community."

Mr Phillips planted an assortment of flowers including alyssum, cosmos, pansy, dahlias, French marigolds, nicotiana and calendula.

Mr Phillips said: “I take it steady, take it easy. I’m no spring chicken but when you’re retired you can manage your own time.”

The flowers have entered full bloom this summer thanks to the efforts of Mr Phillips, who has found he has sowed more than seeds when he began the project as he has received praise from across the community for his tireless effort.

He said: “Everybody is complimentary and respectful, both young and old. Children used to jump and play on the flower bed because they could see it wasn’t looked after. It has brightened up the town and long as people are enjoying it I’m happy to continue.”

Mr Phillips has also been contacted by Emrys Wynne, Ruthin county councillor, who thanked him for his effort.

Cllr Wynne said: “The display looks fantastic. For anybody entering Ruthin from Denbigh Road it is the first thing they see.”