Lawn and order star Jimmy the Mower visits Ipswich
- Credit: Archant
A celebrated mowerman who became an internet sensation because of his pride in the job has visited the place where the modern machine began - in Ipswich.
James Broadhouse - also known as @jimmythemower - attracted 3m views after tweeting out a freshly-mown view of his handiwork on council recreation land in Shropshire, where he lives.
Suffolk-based commercial mower maker Ransomes Jacobsen invited the father-of-three to visit the factory which makes the machines, and take a spin on a more modern lawn mower model to his pride-and-joy Ransomes Parkway 2250, which is 12 years old.
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Jimmy's late father, a retired engineer who died two years ago, played a major part in refurbishing the old machine so that his son could use it in his small grounds maintenance business. While he was out mowing he was inspired to post a picture.
"I always take a lot of pride in my work. I was cutting on one of the pitches at the council tip. It was a great day, and I turned around and looked at it," he said.
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He took a photo and posted it on his Twitter account, then carried on mowing. By the time he got home, the post had attracted 100 likes, and by the time he had gone to bed it was up to 1k. By the following morning it was at 2k. He was invited to be interviewed on local TV and radio and his humble post became a sensation. "I couldn't quite believe it - it was really amazing," he said.
Jimmy was wowed by the new Ransomes Meteor 3 he got to try out while on his factory tour, describing it as "absolutely amazing". He was struck by the design, level of comfort and quietness of the newer model.
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The secret to a good mowing job is care, he said.
"You have got to take a bit of time, a bit of care," he said. "I love my job. Really, it's what I like doing - I like doing it to make a difference."
After the death of his father, the grief-stricken groundsman limped through to the end of the year, and it was his friends who helped him through. The reaction to his post had given him a real lift, he said, including his trip to Ipswich.
"It's been amazing really," he said. "I'm really impressed."
Ransomes has a proud history in lawn machinery, producing the first steam plough in 1856, the first petrol mower in 1902, and the first tractor-mounted, power-driven, five unit gang mower in 1964.