Photo courtesy of Gregg Brown, East Anglian Daily Times.

Bernard Tickner has been awarded an MBE in Her Majesty the Queen’s Birthday Honours. The award has been given in recognition for services to wildlife conservation and horticulture, relating to his voluntary conservation work in Suffolk and for his work at Fullers Mill Garden in West Stow.

The announcement coincides with the launch of his biography, A Scratch in the Soil, on 20th June, in which Bernard looks back on a varied life. The memoir covers his military service in East Africa, a career with Greene King as Head Brewer and creator of its award-winning draught Abbot Ale, a prominent role in the creation of Suffolk Wildlife Trust’s Lackford Lakes Reserve with generous gifts of land, finance and advocacy and sixty years as a plantsman and maker of the garden at Fullers Mill.

Peter Newman, Chief Executive of Perennial, says:

“This honour is richly deserved by Bernard and we are all thrilled by its announcement. His contribution to the local brewing industry in Suffolk has seen long-standing economic growth and worldwide renown for Greene King and his place in the world of horticulture, through the creation of Fullers Mill Garden and his subsequent gifting of it to Perennial, shall be his legacy for many generations to come.”

Speaking about his award, Bernard Tickner, who has recently celebrated his 93rd birthday at Fullers Mill Garden, said:

“I am truly honoured to have been made an MBE. I was first told in early May and not being able to tell anyone has been so difficult, especially as I enjoyed my own birthday celebrations a couple of weeks ago! I have loved living in this part of Suffolk and feel very fortunate to have been able to work and live here for as long as I have. I am humbled that Her Majesty considers me as deserving of the title and I look forward to meeting her to thank her in person.”

Bernard Tickner moved to Fullers Mill in 1958 and began making the garden in what was an area of rough scrub and woodland, set on the River Lark. Today the gardens cover some 7 acres, laid out as a series of interconnecting areas. In January 2013 he entrusted it to Perennial, the UK’s only charity dedicated to helping all horticulturists, in order to secure its future so that visitors can enjoy the garden for years to come. Bernard had placed the garden in a charitable trust a decade ago and he continues to fully fund it.

Perennial is hosting a special event at the garden on 31 July as part of its annual programme of garden tours and visits. Known for its superb collection of lilies (as seen on the BBC’s Great British Garden Revival in 2015), rare and unusual shrubs, perennials and marginal plants this event will provide a perfect opportunity to enjoy the garden in high summer. The garden tour with head gardener Annie Dellbridge will be followed by a picnic lunch and homemade cakes, for which the garden has a local reputation.

Bernard’s book, A Scratch in the Soil, is available to purchase at £8.50 from Fullers Mill Garden, West Stow, Bury St Edmunds IP28 6HD. Tel: 01284 728888. For more information about the garden and opening times visit www.fullersmillgarden

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