Chairman of Squire’s Garden Centres receives OBE

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Colin Squire has been awarded an OBE in the Queen’s New Year’s Honours list


Colin Squire, Chairman of Squire’s Garden Centres, has received an OBE in the Queen’s New Year’s Honours list. He has been given the award in recognition of his services to the horticulture industry and to charity.

Squire’s was founded by Colin’s father D.J. Squire 81 years ago as a nursery and landscape business. Colin (also 81) formally joined the family business in the late 1950’s. Over the last 60 years Colin’s determination, relentless hard work and sound business acumen has helped propel this small family company to one of the best known independent groups of garden centres in the country, with 15 centres across 4 counties in the South East.

Colin Squire said, “I was so surprised and delighted to learn of this award. I feel immensely honoured. I have been very fortunate to work in this wonderful industry and to have enjoyed the support and friendship of so many inspirational people in our business and the wider horticultural family. I remain very optimistic for the future of our industry even though there are many challenges ahead and I believe that horticulture can be a real force for good in the communities we serve.”

Colin is a hugely respected figure in the industry with his never-ending enthusiasm for his business and the horticultural industry as a whole. He was a founder member of the Garden Centre Association in 1966, is a Fellow of the Institute of Horticulture, and supports a number of local “In Bloom” initiatives. Through his enthusiasm Squire’s exhibited at The RHS Chelsea Flower Show for many years and at every one of the RHS Hampton Court Palace Flower Shows, achieving an impressive record of medals over the years. Colin designed a number of these gardens himself. He is also a patron of the Garden History Museum in London, a supporter of Painshill Park, a liveryman of the Worshipful Company of Gardeners, and most recently he has been announced as the first President of the newly formed Rose Society UK.

As if horticulture didn’t keep him busy enough he is also a school governor, President of Sunbury and Shepperton Local History Society, a PCC member at St Peter’s Church in Staines, and is on the board of trustees of a number of local charities and organisations including the Spelthorne Young Voices and chairs the trustees of Laleham Parish Lands. He is a keen supporter of local classical music events including the Richmond Concert Society. He was also very honoured to be made an Honorary Doctor of Art & Design at Kingston University.

His daughter Sarah Squire who is Deputy Chairman said, “Under his inspiring management and leadership, the ethos of the company is well established as a caring, happy family company, constantly aiming to be at the forefront of the industry and committed to good service and good quality products. It is dad’s character, values and judgement that permeate the business, and his enthusiasm, ready smile and commitment are reflected throughout the organisation. We are all so proud of him.”

Whitehall Garden Centre Group acquires third garden centre

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‘Whitehall Garden Centres’ are delighted to formally announce the acquisition of ‘Woodborough Nursery & Garden Centre’ near Pewsey. After some much deserved refurbishment, it is set to re-open on Thursday 23 March 2017

Woodborough Garden Centre is a well-established business on a 18 acre site with a catchment area covering Marlborough, Pewsey and Devizes.

Whitehall managing director Peter Self said: ” We have been looking for a third site for a while, we believe that Woodborough is the perfect addition to Whitehall Garden Centres’ due to its location and homely feel.

Peter & Claire Self, Directors of Whitehall said: ” We have been looking for a third site for a while, we believe that Woodborough is the perfect addition to Whitehall Garden Centres’ due to its location and homely feel. Community spirit and engagement is at the very heart of our business operations, we understand just how important the former Woodborough centre was and is to the local community.”

“We are looking forward to the development and future of Whitehall Woodborough.”

The newly refurbished centre at Woodborough will offer everything that was previously available and more, including high quality plants, pick your own fruits and daffodils, a delightful farm shop, giftware, petting animals, free parking, a beautifully restored tea room and bistro; aptly named ‘Strawberry Fields’, and of course later in the year a festive grotto.

The business was established by Claire Rourke: “I’ve thoroughly enjoyed my time at Woodborough, but it is now time to move on and work on my other business interests. I would like to thank our customers and staff in particular for their help and assistance.”


Official opening of Squire’s Garden Centre in Chertsey

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L-R: Colin Squire (Chairman), Alan Alderson (Mayor of Runnymede), Matt Tanner (Centre Manager), Martin Breddy (MD) & Sarah Squire (Deputy Chairman)


Squire’s Chairman, Deputy Chairman and the Mayor of Runnymede Councillor Alan Alderson officially opened the new Squire’s Garden Centre in Chertsey on Wednesday 1st March.

A plaque was unveiled on a 300-year old olive tree, which had been planted by Chairman Colin Squire to commemorate the opening of the new centre. An olive tree was chosen as it’s a tree of great vigour, very hardy and easy to grow, and it is a symbol of abundance, glory and peace.

Invited guests had a tour of the garden centre, which has a new outdoor plant area and a stylish shop with a great range of gifts. Customers enjoyed live music in the new Café Bar, which is a perfect place for breakfast, lunch or afternoon tea. The cosy and atmospheric Café Bar is housed in a 200-year old octagonal lodge building, which has been loving restored to keep its wonderful character.

Squire’s is a successful family owned business and £1.5 million was spent building the new garden centre. Matt Tanner has been appointed Manager of Squire’s Chertsey.

Chairman Colin Squire commented; “I am very proud to officially open our new garden centre in Chertsey. Thank you to the Mayor and Mayoress of Runnymede, and to other local business people for coming including The Chertsey Society, The Chertsey Chamber of Commerce, and representatives from the White Lodge Centre, an excellent charity that we support. Squire’s Chertsey is small but perfectly formed. We have a great team here, plus a few different products to make it a little bit extra special. I hope that the local community will enjoy coming to Squire’s in Chertsey as much as I do.”

Visit up to 5th March and you can take advantage of Squire’s “Spring Fever” event, where there’s 20% off all garden furniture and BBQ’s. Or come on Saturday 11th March, and the first 50 customers will receive a free packet of lettuce or spinach seeds!

Lifetime Achievement Award: Dennis Espley

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Garden Retail Awards 2017 Lifetime Achievement Award: Dennis Espley


Dennis Espley, the current chair of the Tillington Group and recently retired managing director of Squire’s Garden Centres, was presented with the Lifetime Achievement award by the sponsors HTA’s president Adam Wigglesworth.

Dennis Espley received a standing ovation from the audience following a tribute from John Ashley to the popular industry veteran.

Winners where also Hayes Garden World, who took away two awards:

  • Best Garden Centre Event, sponsored by Solex, – for its Fairy World event.
  • Online excellence award


Member Companies

Alton, Bents, Frosts, Hayes, Otter, Ruxley, Scotsdales, Squire’s, Van Hage, Webbs, Whitehall

There is a new Chairman of the Tillington Buying Group

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There is a new Chairman of the Tillington Buying Group, following the retirement after 16 successful years of Harry McDermid.

Dennis Espley, ex MD of member group Squire’s Garden Centres, is taking over.

Dennis said “Tillington is in fine shape and I’m very happy to carry on with the firm foundations Harry has left”

Picture – Harry McDermid wishing Dennis good luck in new role

Member Companies

Alton, Bents, Frosts, Hayes, Otter, Ruxley, Scotsdales, Squire’s, Van Hage, Webbs, Whitehall

Tillington Chairman Retires

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Harry McDermid, Chairman of the Tillington Group of Garden Centres has retired after 16 years at the helm.

Harry has left the buying group in great shape in 2015 having broken through the £200m barrier.

Harry was for many years Managing Director and Shareholder of Findlay Clark Garden Centres in Scotland before their purchase by Dobbies, it was at this point that Harry took over as Chairman.

The group recently held a dinner to mark the event in Latimer, Bucks, where Harry was presented with a reminder of his time with the group by Richard Webb, a founder member.

Member Companies

Alton, Bents, Frosts, Hayes, Otter, Ruxley, Scotsdales, Squire’s, Van Hage, Webbs, Whitehall