End of an era for Louth man Ray after 43 years at the Forestry Commission

A Louth man who has dedicated more than four decades to local woodland has been celebrated for his commitment at his retirement party.

Ray Smith was presented with a photograph of his favourite view by his colleagues at the Forestry Commission. Photo: Dianne Tuckett.

Ray Smith first started working for the Forestry Commission in 1974 and over the years has taken on a number of roles.

It is a job he loved and that enjoyment could be seen in everything he did.

Wally Grice, who first worked with Ray in 1980, said: “Ray is a very giving person and is always prepared to help where needed - and always with a smile on his face.

“We have had a lot of work experience people through here and Ray has always been there to guide them - and they have always got on with him.

“We will miss him being around.”

Ray’s forestry colleagues - current and past - gathered together at the Rasen office on the edge of Willingham Woods to say thank you and present him with a large photograph of his favourite local view, as well as other gifts.

Ray, who also worked for 10 years as the union rep, said: “It has been a pleasure to work for the Forestry Commission.

“This really is a sad day for me - I am hoping I can maybe sneak back in for a few hours a week.”

Ray is looking forward to spending time with his grandchildren and will also continue to run an autistic group at Louth’s Trinity Centre.