Going back to his roots - new hands-on job for boss

THE director of the popular Harrogate flower shows is stepping down and going back to his roots as a hands-on gardener.

The North of England Horticultural Society (NEHS) yesterday announced that Martin Fish was stepping down as show director in favour of a part-time role as director of horticulture for the gardening charity.

Mr Fish, who has been show director of the twice-yearly Harrogate flower shows for five years, will begin the new role in January, when he will step down.

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Society chairman Chris Smith said: “Martin has done a tremendous job as show director, transforming the flower shows into what are now Britain’s best gardening events, as well as earning the respect and appreciation of visitors, exhibitors, his peers in the horticultural industry, colleagues on the NEHS Council and the show team.

“Under his leadership we have seen the introduction of many exciting new features, not least the inspirational show gardens that have proved so popular with our visitors,” he said.

“But Martin has always been a gardener first and foremost and, after five successful years at the helm of the flower shows, he has told us that he would like to spend more time in a hands-on horticultural role.

“We would like to thank Martin for his fantastic work as show director and we are delighted to be able to retain his considerable expertise within NEHS as our new director of horticulture.

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“He will be responsible for developing a future strategy for the charity and for raising the profile of its valuable, often unrecognised, work in promoting horticulture across the north of England.”

Martin Fish said: “I have enjoyed every minute of my time as show director for Harrogate flower shows and I am very proud of what we have achieved as a society and as a team. I have missed getting my hands dirty and am very much looking forward to a more direct connection with horticulture through this exciting new role and other gardening-related ventures I have planned.”

The NEHS was set up in 1911 to promote horticulture in the North.

It organises the Harrogate flower shows each spring and autumn, attracting nearly 100,000 visitors and 1,000 exhibitors each year.