Meet The Locals: Grahame ‘Shep’ Sheppard

If you live or work in the Singleton area then chances are you’ve seen Grahame Sheppard – or Shep as he’s known.

Shep holds the job of Singleton Council’s CBD caretaker. He’s hard-working and always has a big friendly smile on his face.

We recently sat down for a cuppa and asked Shep a few questions about his work and what he loves about living in Singleton.

Shep, you are a very familiar face around Singleton. Tell us a bit about your job as CBD Caretaker – how long have you done it and what does it involve?

I’ve worked for Singleton Council for 16 years. Basically, my job as CBD Caretaker is to keep the main street and surrounding areas clean and tidy. I do everything from cleaning the streets to watering and maintaining plants. It’s my job to make things right, so if it’s out of place I fix it.

I work a five day week, but unlike most people my week runs Wednesday to Sunday. I get out there every day: rain, hail or shine or heat. I love it… mostly.

I think you’ve got to have pride in your work and the presentation of the town.

Shep, you’re widely described as the hardest worker in town – how does that make you feel?

Well, thanks. I’m always chuffed when people appreciate a job well done.

You’re responsible for a lot of the success Singleton has had at the NSW Tidy Towns Sustainable Communities Awards over the years.

Well, Singleton certainly has clocked up some wins from Tidy Towns and I’m proud of helping towards this. But it’s not just me – a lot of other people have helped too, including local businesses and the wider community.

Singleton has won the population category five times and has come second three times. Singleton was also the state winner back in 2006. And over the past 20 years, Singleton has won a total of 30 awards.

Over the past few years Tidy Towns has taken on more of a sustainable theme, and it’s great to be involved with this – using less water and increasing recycling. It was pretty busy on the main street this July, preparing for the 2019 judging. I’m crossing my fingers for the results in November.

And you got an award too, right?

That’s right. Back in 2013, I was honoured to receive a Community Service Award for Civic Pride from the NSW Government at Singleton’s Australia Day celebrations. At that point I’d worked for almost a decade for Singleton Council as the CBD caretaker. It really means a lot to me.

What do you love about Singleton? What keeps you working so hard?

I’m Singleton born and bred, the oldest in a family of six, and I’ve spent most of my life living in Singleton. It’s a great town. Before I worked for the Council I spent many years at the RTA (or RMS). Really I only left the place to spend a couple of years away living in Bourke where I briefly owned a general store and had the experience of working on a cotton farm.

I’ve always enjoyed being involved in the local community, helping out with soccer and cricket by maintaining the grounds and cricket pitches.

I just love that Singleton is a friendly place to live, and it’s a positive place to live. I like the people of Singleton and how everyone is always willing to stop and say G’day. Given we’ve got a great place to live here, I think it’s really important that we all welcome any newcomers, and do our bit to make our town a great place to live.

And finally: Don’t forget to say ‘hi’ to Shep next time you’re on the main street.

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