Jimmy shot to social media fame in the Summer of 2019 when he posted a picture of a council pitch he cut in Bilbrook with the message, 'It might only be a council field next to the tip, but to the kids round here playing football it's Wembley. So I always cut it like it is.' The viral tweet has been favourited by over 44K people and shared by 3.8K and has been seen by over 3 million people.
After the tweet went viral, John Bray, the social media editor for BBC Midlands today, got in touch with Jimmy and visited the now famous field in Bilbrook, Staffordshire, where he interviewed him and produced a short film. After this footage aired on the BBC Midlands Today News, Jimmy caught the attention of Karl Standley, the head groundsman at Wembley Stadium. Karl made an offer that Jimmy couldn't refuse, to visit Wembley to cut their grass!
Midlands today ran the story for a second day to include the Wembley invitation, and on the BBC England News page the video shot to the no.1 most watched video. Following on from this BBC Radio Shropshire interviewed him and his story has appeared across sporting and amenity websites.
The date for the Wembley visit is still to be confirmed, in the meantime Ransomes Turf Equipment got in touch. After seeing Jimmy's ‘Wembley pitch finish’ tweet, Ransomes Jacobsen invited 'jimmythemower' to their Ipswich factory to see how his famous Parkway 225 stripes were made.
Jimmy's now famous stripes were cut with a Parkway 225, and he’s used Ransomes mowers since starting his business, Ditton Services, with a MK 4 Motor Triple that he fully restored for commercial use with his late dad, who was a retired engineer.
Before the factory tour and a chance to stripe the turf on Ipswich Town Football Club's Portman Road pitch, Jimmy cut the Ransomes factory football pitch with the Parkway 3 Meteor before finding out the machine would be his for a year.
"I'm blown away by being invited down to Ransomes," he said. "What an honour it is to be here and test drive a brand-new machine. I've been using Parkway's since I can remember and they always provide me with an excellent finish on all the pitches that I cut, and to go down to Ransomes, have a tour of the factory, ride on a mower and then be presented with the keys and for them to say we can make one to spec is just unbelievable, it's the stuff of dreams."
"I sat on this new one, and I'm blown away. I thought the one I was using was the best that you could get, but every improvement on this is there for a reason, it's a fantastic machine. The adjustable steering wheel and armrest console are great, the flexibility and comfort of the seating position are excellent, and then there's the fantastic cutting finish that we can see behind us on the pitch."
"I've had a fantastic day coming down to Ipswich, having a look round the factory and then to the football club. I walked across the pitch and had a look at the renovations for the coming season and stood in the middle of it and got to see what a fantastic job these guys do, I'm really, really chuffed to bits."
His tweet has struck a chord with groundsmen and the general public with an overwhelming number of positive comments and feedback coming Jimmy’s way. Ransomes' sales manager, John Quinton, is one of the millions that have seen the tweet and was delighted to show Jimmy around the factory and hand over the keys to his new mower.
"We wanted to surprise Jimmy by loaning him a new machine for a year because he's made a real difference to those he's cutting pitches for and this is our way of recognising that. We'll be in touch with him throughout the year to get his feedback on the mower and get his opinion on how it performs in the field. In peak times he's cutting up to seven days a week for six to 12 hours, so he'll really get to know the machine.
"He has a genuine enthusiasm for his job and the Ransomes mowers he uses, and I'm really pleased we've had the opportunity to bring him to the factory because he's had a great time."