GCA announces new chairman and chairman elect

The Garden Centre Association (GCA) has announced its new chairman for 2022/23 and its chairman elect.

Tammy Woodhouse was officially named as the GCA’s chairman for 2022 – 23 with Will Blake becoming chairman elect, during its virtual AGM meeting, which took place on 10 February.

Tammy, who is managing director of Millbrook Garden Centres, says: “I am thrilled to have taken on the role of GCA chairman for 2022 – 23. I look forward to working closely with the GCA executive and full board of elected directors. I hope together we can continue to expand our membership and strengthen those all-important relationships between centres.

“I would like to thank Mike Burks, who steps down as GCA chairman, for his tireless work during the past two years, which have been the most challenging any of us have ever known. I am looking forward to improving the sustainability of our industry, taking forward the recently developed five-year strategic plan for the GCA and hopefully meeting members in person at the postponed conference later in the year.”

Tammy studied geology and joined The Millbrook Garden Company briefly in 1998 following the sudden death of her father Dick Allen. Subsequently, she worked as a retail manager for Debenhams and studied garden design before returning permanently to Millbrook in 2002. She took over as managing director from her mum Sue in 2009 after a five-year succession plan. 

She has been on the GCA executive board since 2006, helping to launch Garden Retail Online Workshops (GCA GROW) in 2013 and chairing the organising committee for the International Garden Centre Congress to the UK in 2019. 

Will Blake, director of St Peter’s Garden Centre in Worcester, says: “It’s a huge honour to have been made chairman elect of the GCA. For many years I have seen the dedicated work the association’s chairmen’ undertake and I am really looking forward to my time in office. In the meantime, I will be doing anything I can to help and support Tammy in her new role.”

Will joined his family business in 2013 after a successful career in the logistics industry. During his time in logistics, he worked for several blue chip PLCs, including GlaxoSmithKline, Nestlé, Carlsberg Tetley, B&Q and Superdry.

He joined the GCA in 2015 as area chairman for the Midlands. In 2021, he became a directly elected member of the board and put himself forward to be chairman for 2024 – 2025. He is passionate about encouraging sustainability in the garden centre sector.

Iain Wylie, chief executive of the GCA, says: “We are thrilled that our members have ratified the appointment of our next chairman. I am really looking forward to working with Tammy when she takes on the role.

“Usually, our first job together as a team each year is organising our annual conference, which we do in advance of the chairman being officially inaugurated. However, we sadly had to postpone our January 2022 one, but we are working together on virtual events, with a plan to host something in person later in the year now.

“I’d also like to congratulate Will on his role too and look forward to working with him also.”

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