May 21 2013 Latest news:
John Phillips , Senior Reporter
Wednesday, August 8, 2012
Road sweeper Simon Fillery, 48, has helped to keep Barking and Dagenham tidy for the last 25 years.
The Romford resident enjoys keeping active and healthy and having a chat with traders at Barking Market in East Street.
I work as a street cleaner for Barking and Dagenham Council in and around Barking Town Centre.
As of last year I have been working with the Abbey Locality Team, which is a council team that deals with housing and environmental issues in Abbey ward.
I’ve worked in this job for about 25 years, the last 15 of which have been in Barking Town Centre.
I saw the job advertised in the Barking and Dagenham Post and thought it was something I would like to do.
They brought me in for an interview and signed me up for a six-month trial period. I must have done something right because I’m still here after all these years.
I cover the whole town centre but the main areas are East Street, the market and Abbey Green.
On a typical day I arrive, check my barrow, make sure I’ve got the right equipment and set out on my rounds.
A lot of people see us as an information point, so you get quite a few people asking for directions, or just stopping you for a chit chat.
I love this part of the job, especially talking to the market traders. They’re really good fun and I’ve known most of them for a few years so we’ve built up a good relationship.
I must have met thousands of people down the years. Just recently I met former London Mayor Ken Livingstone. He introduced himself and said that we were doing a good job, which was nice of him.
Apart from meeting people, one of the best aspects of the job is that it keeps you active and healthy.
Some people think being out in the rain must be the worst part, but actually the hot weather is even worse. It’s a physical job and when there’s a heat wave you really feel it.
I have a disability which affects the left side of my brain, and I feel blessed that I’m able to work. I enjoy spending time with my family and the odd social drink. I am always up for a challenge and love taking part in any community activity.