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Mr George Brawn
Rushden Echo, 9th June 1967, 'Notebook' page by 'Mr Cobbler', transcribed by Kay Collins

A Compliment to Road Sweeper
It is surprising how much we take for granted as long as things are working well. It is only when things are not as they should be we (the public at large) start moaning and complaining.

The streets of Rushden are a case in point. I wonder how many people have consciously noticed how clean and tidy they are kept. Not many, I bet. It is something we take for granted.

On the other hand there would be hundreds who would notice if the streets were cluttered with rubbish.

I must admit that I had never given it a thought until the other day. A woman came into the office to see if it would be possible to publicly thank a Rushden Urban Council road sweeper for keeping Queen Street so "nice and tidy".

In fact, this verbal bouquet to a council workman struck me as so unusual—normally one only hears of complaints—I decided to look up this road sweeper extraordinary.

I found him with his barrow, brooms and shovel expertly sweeping the dust into neat little piles and scooping the piles up with his shovel,

He is Mr. George Brawn, 9 Gloucester Crescent, Rushden, who is 68 and has worked for Rushden council for forty years.

Surprisingly enough, Mr. Brawn has only been sweeping the roads since Easter! He spent 35 years on the refuse cart and before that he was a labourer.

"What is the secret of keeping the roads so clean?" I asked. "You give them one really good going over and after that it is easy to keep them clean and tidy," he replied. It is as simple as that.

The woman who came in to congratulate Mr Brawn was Mrs A E King, 149 Queen Street. "Since he took over the street has never been kept so nice,” she said.

Mr George Brawn of Gloucester Crescent, a Rushden Urban Council road sweeper, shows how a street should be cleaned

Margaret Goodwin (nee Bugby), by email from Australia, May 2011

Memories of George Brawn

For many years "Brawny", as we called him, collected and emptied our dustbin at 38 Midland Road, Rushden - in fact I can't remember anyone else doing it.

Before I started school, I had a much loved golliwog and as Brawny came up the entry to our back yard he would announced his arrival by calling out "Where's that old black doll?" At first I was scared he would take Golly and put him in the dustbin, so if I was playing in the yard when I heard Brawny's familiar cry, I'd hide in our outside toilet, but I soon realised he was only joking, and I used to look forward to our weekly banter on whether I should keep Golly or give it to Brawny.

Sadly, Golly had to be burnt when I had scarlet fever, but I continued to look forward to Brawny's cheerful weekly visits. He was someone who was always friendly and happy in his work.

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