Princess Anne thanks the Wisbech builder who created Hainault’s Olympic barracks

Princess Anne visit

Princess Anne visit

Archant

A BUILDER from Wisbech who performed miracles to create Britain’s makeshift Olympic barracks in just five weeks in order to house security personnel during the Games has been given Royal congratulations.

Princess Anne insisted she wanted to meet Milner Road resident David Malkin in person to thank him for his efforts in turning around Hainault Forest Country Park in record time so it could provide accommodation for 4,000 troops during the sporting festival.

The Ministry of Defence called JR Pickstock Ltd, the company Mr Malkin works for, when the G4S security staffing scandal broke in June because they urgently needed the firm to construct 10 acres of temporary buildings on the greenfield site in Essex.

As an experienced site manager, JR Pickstock knew Mr Malkin was the man for the job and he immediately set to work installing sleeping units, food and recreational tents, a medical centre and washing and toilet facilities.

It then had to be protected with a wire mesh fence and white screening to give the soldiers privacy while generators and containers were installed to provide electricity and water.

But the 48-year-old’s work did not finish there - afterwards he had to stay and live with the British Army to keep an eye on the site and ensure the soldiers had everything they needed.

“I am usually used to just building hotels or students accommodation,” Mr Malkin said. “This was something very different, especially as I was having to stay and live with the Army.

“Many have served in Afghanistan or Iraq and they have all got stories to tell that really open your eyes.”

The project was set back due to bad weather but was ready for armed service personnel to move into when the Olympics began, Mr Malkin said.

He will now have a break before the Army moves back into to assist with the Paralympic Games between August 29 and September 9.

Later he will oversee the dismantling of the site and returning the forest to its previous condition.


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