One of my heros is a gentleman by the name of Alan Titchmarsh, a thoroughly nice bloke and a fellow horticulturalist. Born 6 days before me in May 1949, Alan left School at 15 and became a parks apprentice with Ilkley Council. At about the same time, only some 280 miles further south, I did exactly the same thing and became a parks apprentice with Brighton Council.
Like Alan, I’ve spent my entire career in horticulture and whilst I’ve never quite managed to reach his dizzy heights ( or even come close!!), I can claim a first on him in one area and that is my TV career started long before his did.
Whilst working in Stanmer Nursery in the late 1960s, the BBC decided to make a Schools Programme about careers in horticulture. They spent the whole day filming everyone and one of the scenes they shot was of the team I was with, budding roses.
A couple of months later the message came through that the programme was being broadcast and we were given permission to all troop into the deputy nursery manager’s house to watch it on his TV.
About 3 minutes in to the film and lo and behold there I was on the small screen. I said earlier how I was on TV long before Mr Titchmarsh, but what I failed to mention was that I was also off it long before him too, as this 30 seconds of film was my first and last TV appearance.
Now this was way before we had such things as videos, let alone digital recorders but fortunately my Mum, who was quick thinking Lady, took a couple shots of the TV with me on the screen.
So this is Stanmer Nursery about 1969 with me nearest the camera, bending over. Stan Tingley, standing and another member of the team, who’s name, regrettably now escapes me, using a hoe.