A FORMER soldier and a retired carpet designer have joined forces to spruce up Colwyn Bay,

The work of dynamic duo Graham McKee and Paul Clarkson is being funded by Colwyn BID, the not-for-profit social enterprise run by the local businesses, and the Gwynt y Mor Community Trust.

BID, has partnered with social enterprise Crest Co-operative, which has bases in Colwyn Bay and Llandudno Junction, to employ the two caretakers, dubbed BID Buddies.

Graham McKee and Paul Clarkson tackle a range of jobs from clearing rubbish, installing benches and pruning trees in Colwyn Bay, Old Colwyn, Mochdre and Rhos-on-Sea.

Former soldier Graham, 45, who lives in Penmachno said: “I really enjoying the work, I’m out meeting different people and feel valued. We take on all sorts of jobs, whether it’s pruning trees or waste removal, we will tackle most things.

“I like not being stuck in an office or on a factory floor and the BID Buddies scheme is a great idea. Businesses can get in touch and we will take on just about any job so long as it doesn’t cover what the council does.”

Graham, left the army after a 22-year career that saw him rise to the rank of Sergeant Major. He said: “I served around the world with operational tours of Afghanistan, Bosnia and Northern Ireland.

Fellow BID Buddy Paul Clarkson, 61, lives in Deganwy, said: “I worked as a carpet and textile designer for 23 years but have done lots of other jobs and have other skills such as landscaping and decorating.

“I volunteered with Crest and set up a woodwork shop helping veterans and others that just needed a bit of support.

“I decided to retire in North Wales but got very bored very quickly! I do the BID Buddy caretaker job two days a week and really enjoy the varied work and working with Graham - I think we are a great little team and are making a big difference to BID members.”