HEREFORD, UK: Six current and one retired team member from Wyevale Nurseries in Hereford have recently been recognised for notching-up more than 30 or 40 years of long service with the company.
Alan Hopkins (aka William Alan Hopkins), Russell Abell, Diana Barber, Michael Smith, Les Pettitt, Patrick Lewis and Karin Williams have all been praised for their continuous service, totalling a collective more than 230 years.
Joint Chairman at Wyevale Nurseries, Heather Williamson, whose grandfather started the business 92 years ago, said: “Huge congratulations and a big thank you to our magnificent seven for their sterling commitment to our success and for their tremendous support to their colleagues and our customers through the decades.
“Five of the seven were recently presented with either silver or bronze medals to celebrate their achievements from the Three Counties Agricultural Society in June.
“Alan, who has now retired, received a silver medal for more than 40 years long service and Diana, Les, Patrick and Karin were presented with bronze medals for 30 years or more of service. Russell, Alan and Diana should have received their awards in 2020 and Les in 2021, but due to Covid this wasn’t possible.
“Russell, who has been with us for 45 years now, and Michael for 32 years were unable to attend the awards ceremony, so have yet to collect long service medals, but have, nevertheless, given their all to us and are stalwarts of the company.
“Our seven together have given a collective 230 plus years of service to us, which is wonderful. We can’t thank them enough for their continued hard work and dedication. They are highly skilled and experienced individuals and we’re so lucky to have them as part of our team.
“Russell is our Despatch Manager. He has an incredibly detailed knowledge of our customers’ requirements and will always go that extra mile to deliver an outstanding service to everyone.
“Alan was our Goods Handling Manager and worked with three generations of my family. He started in 1980 and spent his first 10 years driving our lorries and doing deliveries nationwide. He also helped set up the show gardens at the Garden Festivals of Liverpool, Stoke, Glasgow and Ebbw Vale. He then moved to our Despatch Yard and trained countless colleagues on the correct way to handle and safely load trees and shrubs. He was a tremendous team player and we would also like to take this opportunity to wish him all the very best for his retirement.
“There are very few jobs that Patrick has not undertaken here in his 30 years of service with us. He has worked in Propagation, Crop Protection, Irrigation and more. Patrick is hugely experienced and has exceptional plant knowledge. His current role is in Stock Control, where he combines his knowledge with ensuring our customers receive the quantities they need.”
Karin joined Wyevale Nurseries’ Propagation Department after studying horticulture at college. For many years she specialised in propagating and growing herbaceous plants.
“Her level of technical knowledge has always been outstanding. After many years working in propagation, she moved to our growing team, working on stock for garden centres and landscape customers.
“Through the years, Karin met her husband Justin, who also works for us, and their daughter Charlotte now works here too. Karin currently heads up growing and is central to ensuring the stock we send our customers is excellent quality. Karin is an outstanding horticulturalist and has given so much to us over the decades. She is also very happy to pass on her knowledge to our next generation of plantspeople too.”
Diana is Wyevale Nurseries’ Payroll and Credit Control Manager. She comes from a farming background and in 1989 moved from north Herefordshire to Hereford after marrying a farmer from the area.
“She joined us in the same year, initially, as receptionist but after a short time moved to a position in the Accounts Department. She has undertaken a variety of roles within the department including overseeing payroll and the purchase and sales ledgers. She is currently our Credit Controller, as well as still running payroll. She is extremely dedicated team member and has on occasions, during floods, even arrived at work in her husband’s tractor!”
Michael started as a seasonal worker in Wyevale Nurseries’ Field Production Section in the 1980s and became full-time in 1990 in the Propagation/Liner Unit. He stayed there until 1995 when he transferred to work with the company’s tree department.
Heather adds: “Michael is a very knowledgeable grower and an expert at tree pruning. He’s an invaluable team member who has contributed significantly to the success of our Tree Division, and we’re indebted to him for his hard work and commitment.
“Our Finance Director, Les started working for us in 1991 and has played a very important part in managing our accounts and business opportunities. Our organisation has evolved significantly through the years and Les has been an excellent, supportive member of the board. He’s also been instrumental in ensuring our good financial governance. We’re very grateful to him for all his dedication and input, which has been invaluable.”
Wyevale Nurseries is a member of The Three Counties Agricultural Society, which issues medals to people who have completed continuous service to horticulture or agriculture with the same employer or holding company.
The society is a registered charity working for rural industry, the environment and countryside life. It is committed to supporting farmers, growers and horticulturists in the region and developing understanding between urban and rural communities.
Wyevale Nurseries main business is to supply garden centres, landscape contractors, local authorities, foresters and landowners with a comprehensive array of trees, shrubs, hedging, herbaceous and specimen plants.