Docker who refitted Sir Gallahad and saved battery hens is up for Green award

PUBLISHED: 07:00 03 September 2014

Tom Gleed relaxes in the urban garden he created

Tom Gleed relaxes in the urban garden he created

Poplar Harca Housing

Retired dock worker Tom Gleed has been shortlisted as Green Tenant of the Year in the national Sustainable Housing awards.

Tom Gleed feeding one of the ex-battery hens he savedTom Gleed feeding one of the ex-battery hens he saved

The 69-year-old pensioner has been nominated for his environmental work on the housing estate where he lives in London’s East End.

Tom helped create a thriving community garden at Poplar’s Brownfield Estate, next to the Blackwall Tunnel, digging out a wildlife pond and building a palatial chicken coop for 10 rescued battery hens.

“We had chickens when I grew up in Poplar High Street,” he recalls. “I love the thought that we saved these ex-battery chickens.

“I get a lot of pleasure from them depending on me—it gives me a purpose.”

Tom, who spent his working life refitting naval and other vessels, was nominated by Poplar Harca housing association for the Chartered Institute of Housing award.

“I don’t like being at the forefront like this,” he admitted. “I just get on with it. I’m here every day, New Year, Christmas, and just enjoy it.”

His own balcony garden won first prize at last year’s Tower Hamlets in Bloom competition.

Tom worked at Graving Dock on the Isle of Dogs, his last major job refitting the Royal Fleet Auxiliary’s original Sir Galahad support ship in 1977, which was badly damaged in the 1981 Falklands conflict.

The Sustainable Housing awards are on October 17 at the Lancaster Hotel. Online voting closes on September 12.

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