THE garden supervisor at Osborne – Queen Victoria’s family residence on the Isle of Wight – has announced his retirement after 37 years.

Alan Hickey started working for English Heritage in 1986 as a steward at Osborne, and was taken on by the gardens team the following year; to help clear the damage from the 1987 storm.

“Since becoming the garden supervisor in 2003, Alan has been instrumental in improving the visitor experience within the prestigious heritage gardens,” said a spokesperson for the popular heritage site.

“Under his leadership, Osborne’s award-winning gardens have gone from strength to strength, bringing to life the full history of the remarkable site.

“Over the past 20 years, Alan has overseen large scale changes to the gardens, including fully opening the terraces after a conservation project, extending visitor access to the wider estate, opening Osborne’s beach area, and the re-interpretation of the Swiss Cottage.

“He has also played a key role in developing the garden team and has been instrumental in integrating garden trainees."

Toby Beasley, head gardener at Osborne, said: “Alan will be sorely missed by everyone who works at Osborne.

“He is the lynchpin of the gardens team: co-ordinating work, leading the team, implementing the seasonal bedding schemes and being heavily involved in all aspects of the garden’s care and improvements.

“He’s a man who can make things happen and, whilst we’re sad to see him go, we wish him all the best for his retirement.”

Alan’s last day at Osborne will be Friday, March 10.