0 Uttoxeter Racecourse groundsman follows dad to build Midlands Grand National fences

The head groundsman at Uttoxeter Racecourse has told of his "pride" at following in his father's footsteps to look after the town's biggest tourist attraction.

Reuben Langridge grew up in Uttoxeter and spent many of his weekends watching his dad, David Langridge, working on the Wood Lane course.

After qualifying as a carpenter and working in the prison service, the 26-year-old has settled on a career doing Mr Langridge senior's old job. He has been busy building the fences that will be jumped during the biggest race in Uttoxeter's calendar - the Midlands Grand National, which takes place on Saturday.

Although he loves the great outdoors, Mr Langridge said the weather could be the most frustrating factor he has to deal with.

The Windsor Road resident said: "There are some stressful times and very often the weather is the cause of that. It's sometimes too wet or too dry for the course, but there's nothing you can do to control that. You just make the best of it.

"No two days are the same working here - it's a fantastic place to ply your trade. I do enjoy working outside, but, of course, it's always more enjoyable in the summer. It's certainly better than being stuck behind a desk.

Mr Langridge and his team are currently building four new fences for the big race, which will see an estimated 16,000 racing fans descend on Uttoxeter. Charlie Moore, clerk of the course, revealed how hard Mr Langridge Junior works to maintain his grounds.

He said: "Groundsmanship is now a recognised trade, but, when his father was here, they were considered only one step up from agricultural workers. The amount of demand for the quality of fences we have to provide means the ground staff have to be highly involved and they're well appreciated for that.

"I'm extremely lucky to have Reuben and the rest of the team, because we're only as good as our weakest link and, at the moment, our chain's very strong. You'll often see him working 6am to 8pm and he works really hard and takes immense pride in what he does."

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