After 65 years at the helm of one of Lancashire’s most successful family businesses, Eddie Topping has stepped down as chairman of The Barton Grange Group.
Now in his late eighties, Eddie has decided to retire and has handed over the chairmanship to his eldest son, Peter Topping, who runs the business with younger brother Guy.
Peter will continue to oversee Barton Grange Landscapes and the company’s various nurseries while Guy will continue in charge of the award-winning garden centre and the Group’s latest venture, leisure venue The Flower Bowl.
“As far as day to day operations are concerned, nothing will really change,” says Peter. “But Dad’s in his late eighties now, so we all agree he’s earned his retirement and deserves to put his feet up!”
Eddie started his own market garden business in 1955, before setting up a landscaping company in 1957 and then opening the region’s first garden centre in 1963 in the grounds of the then Barton Grange Hotel.
While his horticultural businesses went from strength to strength, Eddie became an influential character in the industry, and has been president of the Horticultural Trades Association and chairman of the Garden Centre Association over the years.
Eddie has always supported local charities and organisations in the Preston area and, in 2003, he was awarded the MBE for services to charity in Preston.
“Dad’s heart is still in horticulture and he has loved seeing the garden centre win multiple awards over the years,” says Peter. “The business would never have been such a success without his vision and drive, and we’ll miss him in the boardroom.”
Eddie is also a past president of Preston North Rotary Club, of which he has been a member for over fifty years, and an Honorary Fellow of Myerscough College.