Willie Marshall was stunned when a Falkirk Council official contacted him to say an impressed parent had passed on their gratitude after the 57-year-old imparted his local knowledge to youngsters during a chance encounter at Falkirk Trinity Church.
Following the meeting, Pauline Thomas wrote to The Falkirk Herald to draw attention to Mr Marshall, who took time to discuss the church’s background with herself and eight-year-old Hallglen Primary pupils Naomi Eve Norval and Abigail Marr.
The schoolgirls had been conducting a litter pick of their own when they bumped into Mr Marshall as he tidied up the historical site.
Ms Thomas said: “Willie went above and beyond with his incredible knowledge and very kindly took time, not just with my children, but also a few others stopping to chat to him as he went about his job cleaning and tidying up Falkirk town centre.
“Hallglen Primary challenged the kids to find out as much local knowledge on Falkirk as possible. This Falkirk Council worker was incredible and gave the girls so much information and history on Falkirk.
“His absolute enthusiasm for our town and all of its history should be very much recognised.
“He is an absolute credit to Falkirk Council and the man deserves appreciation for all that he does.”
Mr Marshall, who lives in The Bog area of Falkirk, has had an interest in history from a young age and takes great joy in passing on Falkirk’s famous stories to the younger generations.
Originally from Grangemouth, he has become well-known in the town for the time he takes to chat to passers-by while tidying up.
Mr Marshall has been part of the local authority’s street cleansing department since 2007 – but never did he think he would receive praise in its official newsletter.
He said: “I’m known locally by a lot of people in the town from going about but I wasn’t expecting to get such recognition. It was a bolt out of the blue!
“This is the first time I’ve had feedback. It makes the job even more worthwhile!
“I’ve learned more about Falkirk’s history through speaking to people.
“I was up at Trinity Church doing a litter pick and this lady was sitting listening to me talking. I was telling her how it was built in stages and how there’s evidence it was built in the seventh century and she was absolutely fascinated.
“It’s good to get feedback and it’s nice to be appreciated. ld just like to say thank you for recognising me. I’m really happy with what they’ve done.”
While local history is his speciality, Mr Marshall is also gripped by the Second World War.
He continued: “I like all aspects of local history.
“It’s been a passion of mine since I was a child. I like World War Two and build a lot of model aircraft – I like looking at the stories of the brave pilots.”