So, it’s goodbye from her!

After almost twelve years, Chris Johnson is standing down from her day-to-day role as Grounds Training's Development Manager and is taking a well-earned retirement.

Chris founded the training function in the early days of Pitchcare when it was then just a modest number of five staff including directors Dave Saltman and John Richards in a small office at Wolverhampton Science Park, a very different story to the ninety staff Maxwell Amenity Ltd. employs today.

Chris quickly developed a range of sport specific Turf Maintenance courses, which she steered through Lantra Awards' independent accreditation process. These courses formed the core of our education portfolio and remain the only such courses to achieve this enviable status.

Today, Grounds Training offers a complete range of groundcare courses leading to Lantra Awards and NPTC/City & Guilds qualification, covering turf maintenance theory, machinery, equipment, spraying operations, turf/soil culture and other botany and ecology subjects, and management/team leader workshops.

The focus is on group training delivered at clients' premises, and regular clients for on-site group training include some of the most instantly recognised and prestigious organisations in the sport, groundcare and amenity industries.

Chris says: "The decision to retire has not been an easy one to make, but I am now sure that it is the right time to hand over to the younger generation and I am confident that I'm leaving Grounds Training in very capable hands. Kerry Haywood will be taking on overall responsibility for the Training function alongside her role as Editor of Pitchcare magazine, and managing the training office. All day-to-day processes remain in the very capable hands of Carol Smith."

"I have thoroughly enjoyed my time and it has been wonderful to see the business grow to the successful organisation it is today. It has been a privilege to meet and work with some lovely people, both colleagues and clients and, of course, my team of knowledgeable and enthusiastic freelance Instructors who always go the extra mile to ensure that our clients and learners receive excellent service and training."

"Having developed my career as an Executive Administrator through a variety of environments, including the chemical industry, construction, fashion and financial institutions, I can honestly say - with the voice of experience - that within groundsmanship I have met the most genuine, friendly and helpful people with a true passion for their profession."

"From day one, everyone has been generous in sharing advice, information and guidance, without which Grounds Training would never have lifted off the ground.

I shall be keeping in touch with friends from Maxwell Amenity and will be following the company's progress with interest as our talented teams take the organisation from strength to strength in the coming years."

"But, for now, it's cheerio and thank you to everyone who has made the last twelve years so enjoyable and rewarding - and huge fun along the way!"