Lifelong friends who played, worked and then retired together

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3 JUNE 2010NEWS RELEASE No: 13606

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Ever since Alan Enoch and Emyr Richards struck up a friendship in the school yard at Felingwm County Primary School in Carmarthen more than 50 years ago, fate seems to have decreed that they would not be kept too far apart.

Even when their education took them in different directions - Emyr to secondary school and Alan to grammar, then university - destiny kept bringing them together.

A brief spell working together at the Farmers' Co-op in Nantgaredig ended when Alan went off to work in the Ministry of Agriculture, before he joined the Forestry Commission in January, 1977.

But their lives were destined to be drawn back together once more when Emyr walked through the door to join him working in the woodlands of Wales just a few months later.

And when Emyr decided to call it a day following 32 years at the Forestry Commission and - following devolution in 1999 - Forestry Commission Wales, the inevitable happened as he was followed into retirement just a month later by his lifelong friend.

Alan, a former Conservation Ranger who lives near Llandeilo, said, "I was about seven or eight and Emyr a couple of years older when we first met and our paths seem to have crossed purely by chance ever since."

Between them, the friends chalked up 65 years in the Commission, becoming well known figures in Pembrey and Brechfa forests.

Alan recalls, "We would often get on each others nerves, as people who are very close often do. If a few home truths needed to be said, we would say it.

"I was always the more scientific one, but Emyr had the common sense. I'd work out these schemes and then Emyr would say, 'Perhaps it would be better to do it this way'."

Ex-Forest Craftsperson Emyr, who lives in Lampeter, said working for FC Wales had been his "perfect job".

"It gave me the opportunity to work with some real characters over the years and have much fun.

"It's been said that when Alan and I leave 'the forestry' that they will have to close the place down!"

Alan's conservation role saw him looking after the wide variety of species and habitats in the woods, while Emyr's job epitomised the variety of opportunities across a broad range of professions in the forestry sector.

Both friends received long service certificates from the Director General of the Forestry Commission, Tim Rollinson, and have been recommended for a prestigious Civil Service Imperial Service Medal, which is awarded for meritorious service over at least 25 years.

Emyr and Alan now live about 20 miles apart but, as they set about enjoying their retirement, don't rule out another chance meeting on their journey through life.

Alan said, "We keep bumping into each other. We always said we'd end up in the same old people's home!"


Forestry Commission Wales is the Welsh Assembly Government’s department of forestry and manages the 126,000 hectares/311,000 acres of woodland owned by the Assembly Government.

Media enquiries to Clive Davies, Forestry Commission Wales, on 0300 068 0061, mobile 07788 190922,