Peter Seabrook has died, suddenly

Peter Seabrook, MBE, died suddenly on Friday of a heart attack.  At 86 he was campaigning for UK growers till the end.

He started at the BBC in 1963 and first appeared as a presenter on Gardener’s World in 1969.

Peter was gardening editor for the Sun, for whom he published the first article “Spuds are worth it” in 1977.

He was much more than a journalist, he went out of his way to encourage everyone within the sector.  Throughout his career he campaigned for British growers and plants in general.  He chaired industry groups and galvanised the industry into displays at Chelsea, Gardener’s World and other RHS shows.

He was awarded the MBE and the Royal Horticultural Society gave him its top award, the Victoria Medal of Honour.

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Here's what others have said...
Patrick Smith,  14 Apr 2022:
...i will always remember his enthusiasm, and kindness given. A gentlemen who we will all remembered by all.
Derek Jarman, Director of Hayloft Plants,  22 Feb 2022:
...In memory of Peter, I’ve just made a private donation to The David Colegrave Foundation in search of Peter Seabrook Number 2 – a very hard task to follow, I agree.  I will be completing the Gift Aid form to increase my donation too.
Colin Squire,  19 Jan 2022:
...We were so sorry to hear of the sudden death of Peter Seabrook. He was such a special man, full of such energy and enthusiasm and I will miss him very much, personally and as a fine ambassador for our industry. I find it very hard to believe he will no longer be with us with his ideas, his smile and his friendship.

I have known Peter since the early 1960s. I first met him at a nurseryman’s conference at Pershore and I spoke with him about my wish to open a garden centre, Peter was extremely helpful with suggestions and people to contact. When the HTA retail group became the Garden Centre Association in 1966 Peter and I were among the founding members and the first chairman was Charles Nottcutt. For a period, Peter was an inspector for the GCA. I think it would be fair to say that Peter played a hugely significant role in the success of our industry, through GCA, through his journalism and his sheer enthusiasm for plants and gardening.

My most recent contact with Peter was at BBC Gardeners World Live last summer in Birmingham, where he designed a beautiful rose garden. I subsequently had a brief chat with him at Chelsea in the autumn. Over the years Peter helped many of us in the garden centre industry to exhibit at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show through his imaginative Sunflower Street.

Peter believed gardening was for everyone and his columns in The Sun made gardening approachable, understandable and fun for millions of people. His journalism also promoted so many exciting new plants which supported British growers and retailers.

Peter’s boundless enthusiasm for plants, gardening and people will be sadly missed by so many of us. Three generations of the Squire family were privileged to know Peter. My late father D.J. Squire, myself and my daughter all shared a deep respect and affection for him. So many colleagues at Squire’s have all told me in the last few days how highly they regarded Peter. He was truly loved and respected by so many in our industry and beyond.

Iain Wylie, Chief Executive GCA,  17 Jan 2022:
...“We were very shocked and deeply saddened to hear the news of Peter Seabrook’s passing last Friday (January 14, 2022).

“He was a huge supporter of garden centres and an integral member of our industry. Peter was in at the very beginning when our organisation was formed and has supported us throughout. He will be sorely missed.

“Peter played a big part in the early days of the GCA and was an Honorary Member. He attended our conferences and kept very much in touch with all that was going on with our organisation and the industry.

“He visited member centres and was keen to share best practice. He also spoke up for us on many issues on a national level and we were very proud to have him on our side.”

The David Colegrave Foundation,  17 Jan 2022:
...Peter Seabrook, along with Brian Crosby, was the first non-Colegrave family trustee of the David Colegrave Foundation when it was established in 1993, the year after the death of David Colegrave. Peter has, for many years, been one of the main driving forces behind much of what the trust have achieved in supporting the development of students studying horticulture. He has been an ever-present at trustees’ meetings and has been actively involved in all our initiatives in the almost 30 years that he served as a trustee. His commitment to the education and participation of young people in the commercial horticultural world is arguably unmatched in the industry, and his reputation and influence has been widespread, both at home and abroad. His enthusiasm, encouragement and shear hard graft will be missed by many both professionally and personally and his legacy will 'grow on' through all those of us who had the pleasure of his wisdom and support. Neil Gow fellow Trustee of The David Colegrave Foundation
HTA President, Boyd Douglas-Davies,  16 Jan 2022:
...It was with a heavy heart that I learnt of the passing of Peter Seabrook. He was, without doubt, "Mr Gardening" - the original gardening superhero.

I was fortunate to meet Peter in the early days of my career in Horticulture. The enthusiasm he shared with me 30+ years ago never diminished. He enthralled and educated the public through TV, radio and the written word for decades.

His passion for everything garden related was infectious. He engaged with children as easily as he did with their grand-parents. He had time for all and was never slow to share his opinion.

Many a time I have shared a stage with Peter and been amazed at his unwavering ability to answer any question. His 'readers letters' were legendary and hugely entertaining.

The industry has lost a true champion. A character. A media giant. A knowledge that will be impossible to replace. Above all, we have today lost a friend. Peter RIP

The Bourne Family and all at Perrywood,  16 Jan 2022:
...Peter was always keen to hunt out the next high performing plant variety, so would always quiz Alan about what we were growing, and mention several recommendations of his own in return. His passion for plants was evident to all who met him. Peter once worked for Cramphorn’s on Newton Road in Sudbury, which three years ago came into our ownership and is now Perrywood Sudbury. He came along to our first anniversary party and shared his stories of working on the site, telling us he used cycle to work from Chelmsford, a four to five hour round trip! We will miss his dedication to the industry, his support for Perrywood, his floral fantasia displays at RHS Hyde Hall, his ties, his notebook and his smile.

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