Octogenarian's decades-old hiking shirt still going strong

old shrt
The 55-year-old Ellis Brigham shirt has stood the test of time and wear (Image credit: Ellis Brigham)

A hiker’s 55-year-old shirt provides the perfect lesson for modern-day sustainability.

In an era when mass consumerism is far too common – and the subsequent environmental consequences –  Tony Poling should be praised for his conservative approach to waste.

It was in 1966, that a young Tony was hiking with his dad in Snowdonia, in Wales, when he found a shirt hanging off a branch in a river. 

Tony rescued the shirt, found it to be in good condition, washed it, dried it and kept it. More than five decades later it is still going strong and Tony. Who is now in his eighties, still wear is on his regular caravanning trips and outdoor ventures.    

Tony, of Devon, southern England, said: “Sustainability wasn’t something we were aware of back in my day. Rather, it was a natural mindset we grew up with, to make do and mend. Or, in my case, to find and foster.”

Tony in his shirt

Tony says sustainability was a natural mindset when he was younger  (Image credit: Ellis Brigham)

The robust shirt was made by outdoor retailer Ellis Brigham Mountain Sports. When Tony found the shirt, the long-standing outdoors retailer had two stores. Now the company has a chain of more 20 stores around the country, which are still owned and run by the Brigham family.

Mark Brigham said: “Our playground is the great outdoors and our duty is to protect it. 

“This heart-warming story just goes to show that it pays to opt for good quality clothing that will stand the test of time rather than fast fashion that needs to be replace regularly.

Fiona Russell
Outdoor writer

Fiona Russell is a widely published adventure journalist and blogger, better known as Fiona Outdoors. She is based in Scotland and is an all-round outdoors enthusiast with favorite activities including trail running, mountain walking, mountain biking, road cycling, triathlon and skiing (both downhill and backcountry). Aside from her own adventures, Fiona's biggest aim is to inspire others to enjoy getting outside and exploring, especially through her writing. She is also rarely seen without a running skort! Find out more at Fiona Outdoors.