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Tributes for Eddie Topping MBE, Founder, Pioneer, Dad
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AQUA 2021 all set for eagerly anticipated return
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Tributes for Eddie Topping MBE, Founder, Pioneer, Dad

Eddie Topping, one of the pioneers of garden centre retailing in the UK, sadly passed away peacefully with his family around him yesterday evening (Monday 6th September 2021)


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.  After 65 years at the helm of one of the UK's most successful garden centre businesses, Eddie Topping stepped down as Chairman of The Barton Grange Group back in March this year.

Prior to that Eddie could often be found in the garden centre chatting to staff and customers, he loved and cherished the business he had developed with his family.

Eddie was an influential character in the industry, as President of the Horticultural Trades Association and Chairman of the Garden Centre Association over the years.

Forever loyal to his Lancashire roots, Eddie always supported local charities and organisations in the Preston area and, in 2003, he was awarded the MBE for services to charity in Preston.

Eddie was 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.

We will publish details of the arrangements later in the week.


Above: Guy and Eddie Topping in 2010 pictured for GTN's Generation Game interview.


If you'd like to add your thoughts or memories of Eddie, please use the comments link below or e-mail and we'll include them in the next issue of GTN Xtra.


John Ashley writes: Eddie Topping was the Garden Industry when I joined Fisons in 1972 he was HTA GCA and his own growing business. Always welcoming and supportive and helpful to newcomers to this new industry.Eddie was a people person and always a pleasure to be in his company.
He will be missed but never forgotten. Guy is a chip of the old block so he never will be forgotten.May he rest in peace.



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John Richardson
Eddie and I were friends for many years due to our mutual interest in the HTA and horticulture in general. We shared our experiences in building a successful business, and we compared notes on the increasing responsibilities of our respective sons. Eddie was an industry leader, a motivator and a true friend. It is an honour to have known him.
With our condolences to all his family.
John Richardson and family.
Rod harrison
RIP Eddie a great loss and a great man
Christine Brown
Please accept our sincere condolences following the sad loss of a truly remarkable gentleman Eddie Topping.

We will carry very fond memories of the happy times that we as a family shared with him and his dear family.

We are thankful to have been a small part of his life.

Wishing his family peace and comfort at this sad time.

With our love and prayers

Christine, Caroline, Rachel and their families xxx
Cliff Gorman
Very sad to learn of Eddie's death. What a man - so much energy, drive, determination and vision.
It was my privilege to work alongside him for many years and I learnt so much from him.
A great family man.I send my condolences to all the family.
Ken Allen
A larger than life character, supportive and kind to all.
His support and advice being much appreciated by the fledgling Jardinerie.

A life to be celebrated which I am sure it will be. Best wishes to Guy and family, and to the whole Barton Grange team who will miss him.
Sad news to read this. Known Eddie a long time. Always came to say Hello whether for training, Masterclasses, judging or inspecting. Always pressing for firm but fair ways to drive standards ever upwards. Thinking of family, friends and all at BG at this difficult time. Have a lovely photo of Eddie on his bench not long after it was installed which I will cherish. A true gent. Ian Boardman
Simon Brindle
When I worked at Bolton Barton Grange as a young lad in my first job, one of my tasks was to help weed the beds with Eddie, that and try my to keep a track of all the stock he would just take off sale without writing off! There’s me 2 weeks into my new job trying to tell the owner, ‘no, you can’t just take a fork off sale’.

I went on to work at the Preston branch for many years quite often sharing a chin wag on one of his wanders around the offices. Even had the pleasure of creating a snapshot in time for the Garden Centre’s 50th anniversary, photographing every member of staff at that time, all packaged up into a coffee table book as a surprise.
Never met the guy, but what a legacy he leaves behind

Michael Cole
Michael Cole

Eddie was a true gentleman and a proud Lancastrian, he was truly one of the pioneers of the garden centre industry and will be sadly missed by very many people
Andy Campbell
I only got to know Eddie in recent years but it was very clear from the outset that he was one of life’s true gentlemen and someone who really understood welcome and hospitality. Our industry has lost an inspirational force and needs to take time to recover.
Brian Gibbons
Brian Gibbons.
When I made the transition from Garden News to become founding editor of Garden Trade News in the late 1970s I knew little about the workings of what was about to become a massive trade. I had to rely on the friendly advice and encouragement of those pioneers who had made it all happen. One of these was jovial Eddie Topping, founder of the Barton Grange empire. Although never a comfortable public speaker, he possessed a shrewd mind and warm personality which enabled him to carry out his many trade offices with great distinction. Eddie touched the lives of so many people in a positive way, including my own. RIP Big Man.
Michael Hayes Hayes
A lovely man and one of my Dad's best pals.
Great memories over many many years.
RIP Eddie
Michael Hayes
Roger Crookes
Garden Centre legend, pioneer, encourager and gentleman - so sorry to hear about this - sincere condolences to the Barton Grange team and Topping family.
Pat Flynn
So sad, another character from the industry leaving us. He was a true gentleman with a cheeky sense of humour who I remember well from my days at Nurseryman & Garden Centre magazine and then GTN. Condolences to family and all the team at Barton Grange.
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