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Southport Reporter® covering the news on Merseyside.

Date:- 03 April 2006

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A GARDENER who arranged flowers for the Queen and the Pope is retiring after nearly 50 years of getting his hands dirty. 

John Hussey, who started work at Liverpool City Council in October 1959, will be able to have a hard earned lie-in when he retired on Friday 31 March 2006 after 46 years of service.  During the Pope's visit in 1982, John was responsible for brightening up the city with bedding displays. And, on the several occasions the Queen has visited Liverpool, he supplied breathtaking floral pieces.

A special ceremony is being sprung on John when he will be awarded the Royal Horticultural Society's (RHS) Long Service Medal, which is normally given to gardeners who work in the private sector.

Liverpool city council's chief executive, Colin Hilton, said:- "John is a true horticulturist who is passionate about this city and about gardening.  He has dedicated his time and effort to making this city bloom and apparently even when he was on holiday he would always be looking around for inspiration for Liverpool's parks and gardens.  I'm delighted that John is receiving the RHS Long Service Medal and I wish him all the best for his retirement."

Over the past 40 years he has become renowned for his green fingered expertise. His projects included the 1984 'Sunburst' bedding display at the Garden Festival site which was so big it could be seen from across the water in the Wirral. Other examples of his handiwork are the Allerton maze and more recently the Pity II garden which is a tribute to the babies involved on the Alder Hey organ scandal.  For the last 12 years, John has worked at Allerton and Kirkby golf course, personally selecting all the trees that grow there.

Head of Sport and Recreation Services, Chris Briggs, said:- "John has been an invaluable part of the team and will be sorely missed.  He started at the council on 12 October 1959 as an apprentice gardener. His talent was recognised quickly and he was offered a job at Kew Gardens, which he refused as he always wanted to stay in Liverpool.  John has always been happy to muck-in with projects and get his hands dirty. It didn't matter if he was preparing flower beds for VIP visits or he was just maintaining a local park - John always put his heart into every project."

At the ceremony, there will be a ceremonial planting of trees which will give John a last chance to make his mark on the golf course. His colleagues and friends will then present him with the RHS medal.

President of the RHS, Sir Richard Carew Pole, said:- "John Hussey has received the RHS Long Service Award for recognition of 46 years of service at Liverpool City Council, Parks and Environment.  John has made an outstanding contribution to horticulture in the city and the RHS are more than pleased to honour John Hussey's remarkable achievements and skills."

During his time at the city council, John has worked closely with green specialists Glendale and Serviceteam who are helping to organise the surprise event.


PEOPLE in the North West spend £24,648,000 a year on fashion purchases THEY NEVER WEAR!!  A new survey, conducted by Ariel Colour & Style, has revealed that us Brits spend an astonishing £194,972,000 a year on fashion purchases that go completely unworn.

41% of people in the North West aged between 16 and 64 years admit to buying a piece of clothing, forgetting they own it and never wearing it.  That’s a huge 1,945,000 people, meaning that people in the North West alone spend £24,648,000 on clothes they never wear.

Based on an average spend of £12.64 per person per month, and assuming that we make such a fashion blunder just once a year, Great Britain banishes an incredible £194,972,000 a year to the back of the wardrobe.

With £194,972,000 you could buy the following:-

· 7 David Beckhams (who moved from Manchester United to Real Madrid in 2003 for a reported £24.5 million)

· Enough rings to marry Elton John and David Furnish 1,949 times (It was rumoured that their wedding rings, from exclusive jeweller Chopard, cost £100,000)

· Chelsea FC (bought by Russian billionaire Roman Abramovich for £140 million in 2003) with just enough change to tempt Barcelona to part with Ronaldinho (£54,972,000)

Great Britain clearly needs some fashion direction. Not only are we wasting millions on clothing that goes unworn, what we do wear is dull and dark.  77% of those surveyed in the North West still see black or navy blue as the primary colour in their wardrobe.


SATURDAY 1 April 2006 marks the beginning of the 10th season for Southport’s popular Model Railway Village in King’s Gardens near to the Marine Parade pedestrian bridge.

Many residents will recall the original official opening of the Village in 1996 that attracted the attention of the media including cameras from BBC 2. Since then this picturesque attraction has been patronised by many celebrities, journalists and thousands of visitors.

The site is composed of a varied landscape, authentic model buildings and a famous miniature rail network which winds around the beautiful grounds. It all makes for a very pleasant and peaceful atmosphere which is particularly enjoyed by young children.

Ray and Jean Jones, the model village’s proprietors, are in celebratory mood and welcome enquiries from visitors either onsite or by telephone on 01704 538001. You can meet them either among the models or in their welcoming Tea Gardens and Café which specialises in cream teas and a variety of delicious sandwiches.

The Model Railway Village is open from 10am to 5pm every day throughout the summer and their entry charges are excellent value at: £2.95 (adult), £2.50 (child, pensioner or student), free (children under 1), £10 (family ticket).   For further details visit their website.

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