It may have been 30-odd years ago but Pete is still glad of the decision he took to ditch an apprenticeship at Rolls Royce.
The flagship car company came calling after he left school but after three months in post he decided a career inside a factory was not for him.
“I’ve always been good at making things and loved metalwork at school. I did a motor vehicle training course and thought that an apprenticeship at Rolls Royce would be incredible, but after weeks and weeks of being indoors I just got stir crazy. I couldn’t face a lifetime of being cooped up all day.
“I left and went into gamekeeping on the Leaton Knolls estate. It was a Government scheme at the time so I spent a year learning how to look after the pheasants and the woodland.”
Two years at Attingham Park followed, enabling Pete to add fencing and forestry to his skillset, before he was lured back onto the motor trade where he spent 20 years underneath the bonnets of cars.
“I’ve been at Sansaw for 12 years now,” he says proudly. “I came here when James took over and have been involved in all manner of things across the estate, from gardening and groundworks to refurbishments and looking after the pheasants.
“My wife, Zoe, was a housekeeper at the hall so we’ve always lived on the estate. It’s been a great place to live and work.”
Pete’s two grown-up children, Matt, 30, and Kate, 26, both live in Shropshire and he loves spending time with his two grandchildren, too.
“To be honest it’s good fun being a grandparent. Our granddaughter, Ellie, is nine years old and it’s just like seeing Kate as a child again. We also spend a lot of time with Teddy, who’ll be one on St Patrick’s Day.
“Matt and I spend a lot of time together as well. He is a big carp fisherman and he’s really got me back into fishing again.”
The last 12 months have been tough with Zoe’s treatment for cancer but Pete says the whole community has come together to help look after the family.
“We’ve had so much support,” he says. “Zoe is doing really well and we just have to focus on her getting better.
“Both of us love the Greek islands and we’ve spent years visiting the
different ones so we’ve got a trip booked out to Skiathos later this year which we’re really looking forward to.”
In the meantime, there’s a long list of jobs at Sansaw to plough through.
“We’re refurbing a house on Sansaw Road at the moment, just prepping everything to enable all the tradesmen to go in and get on with their tasks. I work mostly with Matt Tipton and we do all the messy work but we don’t mind. We get on really well and enjoy what we do.”