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On Your Marks...Thatcham digger operator bags third place in national competition

A digger operator from Thatcham has won a national plant operator award.

Mark Palmer-Broughton of On Your Marks Plant Hire came third in the UK Plant Operator of the Year awards.

In an all-day event, Mr Palmer-Broughton battled it out with other like-minded hopefuls for the chance to be crowned operator of the year.

Mark Palmer-Broughton
Mark Palmer-Broughton

After a series of tasks, including knocking footballs off traffic cones using the large machinery, he came third.

Mr Palmer-Broughton attended the awards ceremony, in Leighton Buzzard, in Bedfordshire, with 25 of his friends and family for support.

The business owner has been running On Your Marks Plant Hire for three years but has been driving diggers for more than15.

Mark Palmer-Broughton
Mark Palmer-Broughton

He said: “This is the second year of the competition but the first year I applied and I came third.

“I am very proud. I came home and I celebrated.”

The Thatcham man who was on every single flood defence build in his town, said: “I love it, I have my own little machine. My little on is a one and half tonne machine but what we can do with it is phenomenal.

“You’re operating such big machinery yet people think you’re sat down all day and that it is an easy job.

“The concentration level is so intense. When you get home you instantly shut your eyes and switch off.”

He continued: “When you’re working with a gang on people you need to have eyes on the back of your head.

“You have to be alert, people will run behind you, they’ll run in front of you.

“You could kill someone in an instant.”

He added: “You have to have respect for the machine.”

Mr Palmer-Broughton said he loves the job satisfaction and receives glowing reviews from those he does work for.

“Not once have I asked anyone to make anything up, I have genuine five star reviews from people that have had work done.”

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