UK TO HOST SUMMER PARTY FOR CHRISTMAS TREE GROWERS

The earliest Christmas party of the year will be held in Leicester this summer as tree growers of the world unite to make plans for the festive season.

The British Christmas Tree Growers Association (BCTGA) is hosting the Christmas Tree Growers Council of Europe (CTGCE) annual summer meeting from 30th May to 2nd June 2017 in Hinckley, Leicester.

This is the first time the event has been held in the UK for more than 15 years.

Harry Brightwell, secretary of BCTGA, said:

“The event sees growers from across Europe attending with some delegates coming from as far as the USA.

We will be taking our guests to visit some exciting Christmas tree farms – Woods Farm in Solihull, Cadeby Tree Trust in Nuneaton and Friezeland Christmas Tree Farm also in Nuneaton – where we will be sharing advice and updates on growing beautiful trees.”

The British Christmas Tree Growers Association, based in Tuddenham St Martin, Suffolk, was established in 1979 to provide a quality standard for Christmas tree growers in the UK and champion the purchase of real Christmas trees. It has over 300 members.

Mr Brightwell said: “We have various activities planned and we are expecting the event to be an informative and interesting few days for all attending and is a wonderful opportunity to share a bit of British Christmas cheer.”

BUNNINGS WAREHOUSE OPENS NEW STORE IN HEMEL HEMPSTEAD

The third Bunnings Warehouse store in the UK and Ireland opened its doors to customers on Friday 9 June in Hemel Hempstead, Buckinghamshire.

The new store, on the site of the former Homebase at Apsley Mills Retail Park, continues the momentum of establishing the Bunnings Warehouse format in the UK’s £38billion-a-year home improvement and garden market.

The Hemel Hempstead store is over 64,000 square feet and employs 111 people – including 53 in newly created full and part-time roles.

It also stocks more than 27,000 different home improvement and garden lines, including paint mixing services from Johnstone’s Trade, Crown and Dulux and a new tool shop offering world-leading brands such as Ryobi and DeWalt.

The company, part of Australia’s Wesfarmers Group, plans to invest up to £500million rolling out Bunnings Warehouse stores across the UK and Ireland over the next three to five years.

To celebrate the opening, Olympic gymnast champion and Hemel local Max Whitlock MBE hosted a welcome breakfast for team members.

Max said: “It’s great that Bunnings has chosen Hemel Hempstead as the location for its third store in the UK. Hemel is where it all began for me so I’m delighted to be back opening the store. I’m sure it will be a huge success.”

The new store’s Complex Manager, Darren Reid, added: “Our team members have worked really hard to get the store ready for opening and are looking forward to sharing their expertise and enthusiasm with customers in Hemel. We’re ready to welcome people to the new store!”

And the fun doesn’t stop there. The new store will also be hosting two grand opening weekend events with a raft of free family activities on 17/18 and 24/25 June. Customers can enjoy face-painting, balloon modelling and even join Peppa Pig & George for a Story Time session (see in store for details).

About Bunnings UK and Ireland

Bunnings is the leading retailer of home improvement and outdoor living products in Australia and New Zealand. As of 12 December 2016, in Australia and New Zealand, Bunnings operates out of 357 trading locations (of which 248 are warehouse stores), employing over 40,000 team members.

In February 2016 Bunnings acquired Homebase, the second largest home improvement and garden retailer in the United Kingdom and Ireland. Bunnings Warehouse opened its first two stores in St. Albans in February/April 2017, with additional stores confirmed in Hemel Hempstead, Milton Keynes and Folkestone. As of May 2017, it also operates as Homebase out of 252 trading locations, employing over 12,000 team members in the UK and Ireland.

GIMA Golf & Activity Day Round Up

Last week, suppliers and retailers from the garden retail industry came together for a day of fun, team building and networking at the GIMA Charity Golf & Activity Day, raising much needed funds for Greenfingers and St.Richard’s Hospice.

The 2017 event marked the first time that Kwik Cricket and the Laser Clay Shooting Challenge were added to the mix, opening the event up for more industry colleagues to get out from behind their desks for a day of team building and fun.

In total 17 teams entered the annual golf competition, and another two completed the rivalry over on the Kwik Cricket and Shooting pitches.

On the golf course, the biggest prize on the day was over the 18 holes. It was a fiercely fought competition but it was the team from Grange Fencing who retained their winner’s title, taking home the trophy for the second year running. Coming up a close second was Smart Garden’s A-team, with the Mr Fothergills team following behind in third position.

As always, the golfers had not just their handicap to beat, but a number of other prizes up were for grabs keeping the competitive juices flowing. The winners of all the prizes from the golf course included Steve Harper, James Mitchell, James Parr, Steve Ainscough, Simon Neat, Jerry Walker, Phil Swainston and Raoul Curtis Machin, who all successfully beat the pro. Each of these lucky winners took home a voucher for a ‘four-ball’ at Telford Golf and Country Club.

There were also several spot prizes available, the winners of each receiving a bottle of champagne and sleeve of golf balls. The winners were:

  • Nearest Pin 3rd Hole – Pete Bunker
  • Nearest Pin 11th Hole – Chris Owen
  • Nearest Pin 16th Hole – Andy Bestwick
  • Nearest Pin in 2, 8th Hole – James Mitchell
  • Longest Drive 14th Hole – Dave Kearsley
  • Straightest Drive 18th Hole – Derek Bunker

The competition was equally fierce over on the Kwik Cricket and Shooting pitches in Lilleshall, the cricket club of Colin Wetherley Mein of Vitax. The first time these events have been added to the roster, participants were unsure to begin with but quickly discovered their talents for both the cricket and laser shooting. Like the golf, these events also included a sense of friendly competition with Andrew Peers winning the shooting challenge, and a team made up of colleagues from Cadix, Kelkay, Glee, Bathgate and PetQuip winning the overall challenge.

Vicky Nuttall

Aside from the fun, there was also a serious element to the day, and that was to raise funds for two most deserving charities – Greenfingers and St Richard’s Hospice, the latter being selected as GIMA’s 2017 charity by GIMA president, Chris Ramsden. The total fund raised will be revealed at the GIMA Awards on July 13th, Celtic Manor.

Talking about the Golf & Activity Day, Vicky Nuttall, GIMA Director said: “What another fantastic event. The weather may have been a tad unpredictable but nothing we aren’t all used to! It was so great to see so many retailers and suppliers coming together for a day of networking, friendly competition and fun. I’m sure Greenfingers and St Richard’s Hospice are going to be overjoyed by the endless generosity of all those that attended.

“Our thanks go to everyone who attended, as well as all the staff at the Telford Hotel & Golf Resort, and Lilleshall Cricket Club. Here’s to next year!”

 

BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT APPOINTMENT AT MR FOTHERGILL’S SEEDS

Matt Jackson has joined Mr Fothergill’s as Business Development Manager. This is a new role and Matt will work with the key garden centre groups and collaborate closely with the field sales teams. He comes to the Suffolk seedsman after 12 years in the garden centre supply trade and brings great experience to the position.

Matt said: “I am delighted to be joining Mr Fothergill’s to team up with their accomplished sales force. There are exciting plans for the future and I hope to contribute my part to the full!”

In his personal life, Matt enjoys travelling and sport. He has run over 100 road races in the past including two trips around the London Marathon course. He is now concentrating more on road cycling and has ambition to complete the severely testing, mountainous, Etape du Tour race in France. He is also a Manchester United season ticket holder but the company hasn’t held that against him!