Outlook Issue 20 Winter 2015
News and Views from St. Mary's Woodbridge
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15 Charles grew up in Edinburgh, and after horticultural training moved to Woodbridge in 1958 to take on his late father’s and grandfather’s business, which had become somewhat run-down. Up to that time plants were bought almost entirely at shows and by mail order; garden centres, as we know them today, were unknown. Charles foresaw the growth of out-of-town shopping and in 1958 opened one of the first garden centres in the country here in Woodbridge. He subsequently built a chain of such centres across East Anglia, the Home Counties and the Midlands. By the time of his retirement in 2008, Notcutts had 18 outlets and is still the largest such chain in private ownership. Despite the huge range of products sold nowadays in garden centres, Charles remained a dedicated plantsman, and was particularly proud that his company had won 50 gold medals at the Chelsea Flower Show. As an employer, he took a personal interest in his staff, even as the business grew and grew, with a particular affection for the older men and women who had worked on the nursery before and after the war, most of whom he knew well. Charles was a man of exceptional energy, and besides running his own business was deeply involved with all the main trade bodies, including the NFU and the Horticultural Trade Association, as well as several educational establishments. He served on the Council of the Royal Horticultural Society for ten years, and until recently continued as a judge at Chelsea and other shows. His special interest was trees, and as a leading member of the International Dendrology Society, he helped organise visits looking at trees worldwide. He served on Woodbridge Town Council, becoming mayor in 2012/13, and was a long-term member of Woodbridge Rotary Club. Most recently he put his long experience of property matters to good use on behalf of the town by helping to steer through the Whisstocks re-development project.* Michael Bizzey * Editor’s note: Woodbridge in Bloom (another committee on which he served) are planting a tree, donated by Kew Gardens, in his memory within the Whisstocks re-development. CD Choice The John Rutter Songbook (Classic fM label) Here is a two-CD collection of twenty Christmas carols on one disc and twenty classic songs on the other, marking John Rutter’s 70th birthday year. All are either arrangements or orchestrations of compositions by Rutter which he has