At the start of 2020, Linda Jones’s new gardener Glyn Jenkins could never have imagined leaving his dream job at Hobbiton.
Having ventured to New Zealand on a working holiday visa four and a half years ago, the Welsh-born former conference and events coordinator thought he had truly landed on his feet when he got a job at the popular Matamata tourist destination.
“I met my wife Jonelle there on my first day. She trained me to be a tour guide. We got married on the set last year,” says Glyn, adding that their unusual wedding will be featuring in an episode of Extreme Weddings as a result.
“And then my brother came and got a job and then he met his partner there as well!”
So with his Hobbiton family being quite literally his family, being one of the 241 redundancies triggered by the Covid-19 pandemic was a devastating blow.
“It was like a switch, just like that. There were a lot of tears.”
Glyn wasted no time finding a role working as a security guard at Countdown supermarkets during alert levels 4 and 3 before happening upon an ad for a gardener at Ryman’s new Hamilton village, Linda Jones.
“I thought it sounded quite lovely,” says Glyn, who had been leading hand in the set decoration department and weekend gardening and maintenance supervisor when he left Hobbiton.
“I liked the sound of it, Ryman Healthcare sounded genuine and it felt more like a family.”
Since joining the team on 18 May, Glyn hasn’t looked back.
“I’m doing gardening and assisting my fellow colleagues wherever needed as we come out of lockdown. We’re still sorting things out here and there after Covid, and making sure everything is alright and just keeping the aesthetic as best we can until we get some procedures in place.”
He says he has been impressed with Ryman’s lockdown effort to keep residents safe.
“The amount of support Ryman gave to residents was fantastic, I really enjoyed seeing that.
“On Queen’s birthday weekend we did a little soiree for the residents and they just loved it, that was really special.”
He has really enjoyed getting to know the residents, including Tricia who also comes from Wales.
Now every time they see each other they greet each other in their native Welsh which just makes Glyn feel even more at home.
When he learned that one of his colleagues, Ann-Maree the Activities Coordinator, was an extra in The Hobbit film there couldn’t have been a clearer message that this was the work family for him.
“Especially coming from Hobbiton which had that family feeling and I get that from Ryman too. And Ann-Maree is fantastic. She took me over to Hilda Ross to meet all the gardeners there to get some advice.
“I walked around the village and the gardener gave me two bits of advice. She said ‘listen to the residents’, because this is their home, and ‘stay true to yourself’ and I really liked that.”
And just as further confirmation that he was in the right place, he discovered a remarkable coincidence: “One of the other gardeners at Hilda Ross is from Sidmouth in Devon and he knows my best friend!”
Although Ernest Rutherford’s sales advisor Jacqui Clarke is new to the village, she is no stranger to Ryman Healthcare.