Jimmy shot to social media fame in the Summer of 2019 when he posted a picture of a council pitch he cut in Bilbrook with the message, ‘It might only be a council field next to the tip, but to the kids round here playing football it’s Wembley. So I always cut it like it is.’ The viral tweet has been favourited by over 44K people and shared by 3.8K and has been seen by over 3 million people.
After the tweet went viral, John Bray, the social media editor for BBC Midlands today, got in touch with Jimmy and visited the now famous field in Bilbrook, Staffordshire, where he interviewed him and produced a short film.
Midlands today ran the story for a second day to include the Wembley invitation, and on the BBC England News page the video shot to the no.1 most watched video. Following on from this BBC Radio Shropshire interviewed him and his story has appeared across sporting and amenity websites.
Match of the day- Russia
Jimmy was interviewed by Match TV (a Russian sports channel created by the order of Russian president Vladimir Putin) although initially he declined as he suspected it was a spoof request!
Ramsomes turf machinery factory tour
Prior to the Wembley visit Ransomes Turf Equipment got in touch, after seeing Jimmy’s viral ‘Wembley’ tweet and invited “Jimmy the Mower” to their factory in Ipswich to see how his now famous Ransomes Parkway 2250 mower was made.
Jimmy was completely swept off his feet, when Ransomes sent a chauffeur to pick him and his colleagues up from his Shropshire home and take him to the factory in Suffolk. Jimmy told me he was absolutely amazed and blown away by all the attention. He said “I’m just a bloke who cuts the grass, I try hard at work and do my best to make the pitches look as good as possible.
Jimmy’s now famous stripes were cut with a Parkway 2250, and he’s used Ransomes mowers since starting his business, Ditton Services, with a MK 4 Motor Triple that he fully restored for commercial use with his late dad, who was a retired engineer.
After the factory tour Jimmy cut the Ransomes factory football pitch with a brand-new Parkway 3 Meteor.
“I sat on this new one, and I’m blown away. I thought the one I was using was the best that you could get, but every improvement on this is there for a reason, it’s a fantastic machine. The adjustable steering wheel and armrest console are great, the flexibility and comfort of the seating position are excellent, and then there’s the fantastic cutting finish that we can see behind us on the pitch.”
Ransomes then presented the new machine to Jimmy, to use for a whole season. He told me how it has made a huge difference, his old machine is getting a bit tired and slow but this new one has changed everything. He can now cut more grass and be make more of a difference in the community. He just can’t thank Ransomes enough for the loan of the brand-new machine.
Reflecting on the factory tour and presentation he said “I’m blown away by being invited down to Ransomes, what an honour it is to be here, and test drive a brand-new machine. I’ve been using Parkway’s since I can remember and they always provide me with an excellent finish on all the pitches that I cut, and to go down to Ransomes, have a tour of the factory, ride on a mower and then be presented with the keys and for them to say we can make one to spec is just unbelievable, it’s the stuff of dreams.”
Ransomes’ sales manager, John Quinton, is one of the millions that have seen the tweet and was delighted to show Jimmy around the factory and hand over the keys to his new mower. “We wanted to surprise Jimmy by loaning him a new machine for a year because he’s made a real difference to the people he’s cutting pitches for and this is our way of recognising that. We’ll be in touch with him throughout the year to get his feedback on the mower and get his opinion on how it performs in the field.
In peak times he’s cutting for up to 12 hours a day and sometimes 6 or 7 days a week! So he’ll really get to know the machine” John continued “Jimmy has a genuine enthusiasm for his job and the Ransomes mowers he uses, and I’m really pleased we’ve had the opportunity to bring him to the factory because he’s had a great time.”
The fun didn’t stop there though, after lunch Jimmy and his colleagues were chauffeured to Portman Road, the home of Ipswich Town Football Club. He chatted with the groundsman and asked questions about the amazing pitch renovations that had taken place over the summer. Then he got to cut the real pitch using a Ransomes Matador pedestrian mower.
Jimmy said “I’ve had a fantastic day coming down to Ipswich, having a look round the factory and then to the football club. I walked across the pitch and had a look at the renovations for the coming season and stood in the middle of it and got to see what a fantastic job these guys do, I’m really, really chuffed to bits.”
His tweet has struck a chord with groundsmen and women across the country and the general public too. He received an overwhelming number of positive comments and feedback and took the time to reply to each and every person who got in touch.
Jimmy also caught the attention of Karl Standley, the Head Groundsman at Wembley Stadium. Karl made an offer that Jimmy couldn’t refuse, to visit Wembley to cut their grass!!
The One show
Jimmy’s filming on the BBC one show was really great, he filmed it over a couple of days and although it was hard work, he really enjoyed it, and Mark and Paddy did an excellent job in the editing suite. Jimmy said “To actually get an invite to be in the studio was amazing and then to meet and have photographs with the presenters Michelle Ackerley and Amol Rajan and guests Peter Crouch, Gabby Logan and John Bishop was the icing on the cake.
Jimmy is also Baggies fan as in the below picture ,with Frank Skinner and still holds on to the dream of being able to cut the pitch at the Hawthorns, he told me “for me to cut any stadium pitch is unreal l am just a guy who cuts grass and for anyone who does that then Wembley is the biggest, however I just love to cut any football pitches really. It is my passion ‘
Jimmy has such a zest for cutting the grass for kids to play on that he has become somewhat of a celebrity groundsman, often recognised as Jimmy the Mower when he is out and about, and he is still stunned by this is. However, he is a humble character and his passion remains to be the simple joy of cutting grass to make others happy.
’Patch of the day’
Day to Day, Jimmy is still cutting grass and his love for this is purely infectious, he still very active on social media and runs a ‘Patch of the Day’ Competition on Twitter which has now gone international. People post pictures of their grass cutting be it a small postage stamp sized lawn or a professional sports pitch using the Hashtag #patchoftheday so it can be entered in to the weekly draw.
The weekly competition is a bit of fun and is decided by a random draw so anyone can win. It is great to see people’s lawns, paddocks, football pitches etc. We are a nation of gardeners and it has really got people talking and showing off their skills.
The weekly winner receives a Ransomes baseball cap and very often posts a photograph of themselves wearing it which in turn generates even more interest.
I asked Jimmy did you make any money from your spotlight in the media and he replied. “Not actual money, I haven’t been paid for the television appearances or anything, but I’ve got to meet a lot of people in the media and the groundscare industry. I have the loan of a mower (below picture) from Ransomes turf which is more than I could ever of wished for, that will enable me to keep cutting grass and providing great surfaces for the kids to play on, which too be honest with you is absolutely priceless”
Jimmy though has not stopped dreaming though, he has a passion to help other groundsmen at grass roots level and has been in talks with the institute of Groundsmanship about their educational program and what he can do to help. Jimmy said “First of all I have got to get myself some qualifications and then I need to go out and spread the word. There are so many groundsmen out there with so much knowledge that I just need to gather together and share with the wider community. If it wasn’t forthe support of the institute of groundsmanship I wouldn’t have got to where I am today. Now it is time to help promote them and all the fantastic things that they do.
Jimmy could work through the IOG qualification framework all the way up to level 6 and would love to work with the FA and become a pitch advisor in his local area and help groundsman and sports clubs all over the Midlands and beyond.
Jimmy and Friends
This blog was written by Groundsmen for Groundsmen,so if our grammar is a little out in in this blog, please excuse us.