Meet Sophie - Oswestry's first ever binwoman

It’s been another good day at the ‘office’ for Sophie Hoggarty.

Sophie Hoggarty is Oswestry's first female refuse collector
Sophie Hoggarty is Oswestry's first female refuse collector

For the 24-year-old’s office is the refuse lorry that she drives around Oswestry.

Sophie has become the town’s first bin lady– and is urging more women looking for a job to give it a try.

The only woman in the team of bin men covering the town and surrounding villages, Sophie joined refuse and recycling company Veolia about 18 months ago.

After working as a loader on one of the lorries she recently passed her Class 2 driving test and is now one of the drivers.

Sophie recently passed her Class 2 driving test

Being a binwoman is not something she dreamt of doing at school, she admitted.

“I went to college to study patisserie baking. Then I moved to France to work,” she said.

“When I returned to Britain I worked in an office for a while then signed up with an agency.

"They asked me if I wanted to go to Veolia and I thought, why not. I haven’t looked back since.”

Sophie lived in France before returning to the UK and being recruited by Veolia

She said the job could be physical with loaders sometimes clocking up 15 miles walking in a day.

“We drivers will often help out,” she said.

“But I would much rather be working on the bins, out in the fresh air, than in an office.”

Sophie said being a woman in a man’s world was ‘interesting’.

“Yes, there is a lot of banter, but I am happy to give that banter back. It would be nice to have some other ladies here,” she said.

She still bakes in her spare time, much to the enjoyment of fellow workers.

“Sometimes I take slices of cake or pastries in or the crew,” she said.

Tim Walters for Veolia said: “We are very proud of Sophie and progress she has made. We would like to encourage more women to come and give us a try.”

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