Working with wood runs in the Roberts family, Gary explains. His father works for Heritage Oak, while Gary has followed firmly in his dad’s creative footsteps to work in the joinery at Sansaw Estate.
In truth, Gary’s experience means there aren’t too many jobs he struggles with, but you can tell that working with wood is something of a passion.
“Variety is something that really attracted me to Sansaw,” Gary explains. “One minute you can be doing some general window repairs and the next minute you’re doing some bespoke carpentry for a Victorian greenhouse.”
Some of the jobs are incredibly detailed and delicate, words you wouldn’t have used to describe Gary’s rugby background.
“I played for Shrewsbury for a long time and loved every minute of it. The game itself, the socialising, the banter – it was brilliant, but that’s six years ago now. My knees and shoulders took too much of a battering so I stick to running now!”
Gary’s completed “the odd” marathon and has signed up for various endurance events such as Tough Mudder and the Long Mynd hike.
“I love a challenge and pushing myself to the limits. I’m not fast but I just like getting my head down.”
There’s no such chance of getting his head down at home, which he shares with his wife Gemma, his two girls Abby and Izzy, a miniature schnauzer, five chickens, three sheep and two pigs.
“There’s never a dull morning, that’s for sure,” Gary laughs. “I seem to spend half my life down at the animal supplies’ store!”
As you would expect, Gary built the chicken coop himself. Yet he does get to relax…whenever the rugby’s on.
“I do like to watch the Six Nations,” he confesses. “In fact, I’ll watch any kind of rugby if I can get away with it. We often go on old boys’ trips to Italy or Scotland to watch England play which is always a great laugh.”
As for work life, it helps that he lives and works on the estate.
“I’ve lived on the estate for 11 years now and it’s great not having a commute,” Gary smiles. “It did get a bit tricky to switch off with everyone knocking on your door in the evening when something went wrong, but now we’re more on the outskirts of the estate we’re able to have some quality family time at the end of the day.”
“I’ve entered the ballot for next year’s London Marathon so hopefully I’ll get a spot,” he says, explaining his Monday night sessions with the Shropshire Shufflers.