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Everton Nurseries celebrates 100th birthday with raft of events

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A FAMILY-owned garden centre is celebrating its roots to mark its 100th birthday.

Everton Nurseries hits a century this year and has launched a series of events throughout 2022 to mark the special occasion.

In 1922 Cecil – known as Gordon – Collyer, fresh from studying botany at Reading University and garden design at Farnham Art School, bought three acres of land for his nursery. More land was added over the next 40 years, growing to the 25 acres it has now.

Everton Nurseries in about 1929/30
Everton Nurseries in about 1929/30

In the early days, one labourer and a “lad” were employed – that has now grown to more than 50 staff, with seasonal increases in the spring.

War put a stop to the industry in 1939, and the site was turned over to food production, employing the Women’s Land Army along with additional women and children. By the war’s end, however, Everton Nurseries was back producing its usual stock, with many of its original staff returning.

A succession of Gordon’s family joined the company over the years, and his two sons Michael and John had become directors by the time he died in 1982.

Everton Nurseries today
Everton Nurseries today

Three of Gordon’s grandchildren – Simon Collyer, Toby Collyer and Maria Currie – are the current directors, and members of the family’s fourth generation, Alessio and Lucy Collyer, are also getting their green fingers dirty.

Toby paid tribute to the community which has seen them through the past century, saying: “We are absolutely delighted that Everton Nurseries is still trading and serving the local community and wider areas 100 years on.

“Without the support of our customers, both retail and trade, the nursery and garden centre would not be what it is today.

Everton Nurseries founder Cecil ‘Gordon’ Collyer in the late 1960s
Everton Nurseries founder Cecil ‘Gordon’ Collyer in the late 1960s

“Right from the beginning we have been very lucky to have such loyal and hard-working staff, some of whom have spent their whole working life with us.

“We hope very much that our grandfather would be proud that the business he started in 1922 is still thriving, and we are very much looking forward to the next 100 years.”

The celebratory events started with a children’s colouring competition as local infant and junior schools were invited to paint pictures on the subject of ‘my garden’. The winners will be announced in March, with the pictures displayed at the centre.

Directors Toby Collyer, Maria Currie and Simon Collyer with Everton Nurseries’ new generation Alessio Collyer and Lucy Collyer
Directors Toby Collyer, Maria Currie and Simon Collyer with Everton Nurseries’ new generation Alessio Collyer and Lucy Collyer

A History of the Nursery display will be erected from Monday, and between February and September there will be free talks, tours and question time sessions.

Toby added: “Achieving our centenary is very special and something that we will be celebrating with different events throughout the year, with both our staff and our customers. Over the last couple of years we have had to deal with the added pressure of Covid and the lockdowns. We wish to sincerely thank our staff and our customers for their continued support and their trust in us during this time.”

For the full list of events, visit www.evertonnurseries.co.uk/centenary

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