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Judging Panel 2017

Judging Panel

Julie Burrell 2

Julie Burrell, Head of Trading Seasonal and Stationery Wilko Retail

I have 28 years retail experience both in buying and retail operations.  My buying focus has always been on seasonal products – my first categories as a seasonal buyer were outdoor leisure and summer seasonal!  I am a really keen gardener, have a Plant Science BSc degree and now lead the garden category for one of the key garden retailers in the UK.  A really exciting role!

Sarah Coldrake

Sarah Coldrake, Category Manager Garden, Homebase

Sarah has worked at Homebase for over 12 years in various Buying roles, and has focused on Garden for the last four years.  In her role as category manager, Sarah leads a team of over 25 people across Horticulture and Garden Lifestyles.  In February 2016 the business was acquired by Australian home improvement and outdoor living retailer Bunnings, and Sarah has led the development of the Bunnings Garden proposition across the first set of pilot stores.

Neil Grant2

Neil Grant, Managing Director, Ferndale Garden Centre

Neil Grant is Managing Director of Ferndale Garden Centre just south of Sheffield. Neil has been with Ferndale for 34 years, since his wife’s family bought a run-down existing garden centre business. Neil met Linda, his wife, at Writtle Agricultural College, near Chelmsford while studying HND commercial Horticulture. Having both passed with Distinction they started to develop the family nursery in south Sheffield before moving the whole family to Coal Aston to form Ferndale Nursery and Garden Centre in July 1982.
Neil is passionate about our industry and has previously been Midland area rep for the GCA and then an elected Director sitting on the national executive for 6 years. Neil became HTA council representative for Yorkshire in 2012 & recently for the North East England as well. Neil is also ‘garden expert’ for BBC Radio Sheffield every Sunday morning.

robert hall2

Robert Hall, Halls Gardensite

Robert initially worked as a freelance photographer before writing his weekly column for the Daily News and concentrating his experiences into developing Hall's Garden Supplies, established in 1952 by his father Gerald Hall. Robert launched his initial website in 1999. Today GardenSite is established as one of the leading authorities in its sector and still follows his original maxim of offering the same level of personal service online as in store. GardenSite was voted Best Online by GLEE in 2015 and 2016. His work has been published locally and nationally over the last 40 years.

James Hollingsworth2

James Hollingworth, Garden Products Buyer, Suttons Consumer Products

James, a qualified Product Design Engineer, has worked at Suttons for twelve years, during which time he has extensively developed the breadth and depth of sundry items that complement their plant range both online and within their catalogues. As part of his role, he visits shows and sources both British made and overseas products to ensure that Suttons customers are offered the very latest in innovative and inspirational sundry items. An experienced negotiator, James also ensures value for money whilst preserving the quality remit, enabling customers to benefit from his bargaining skills and eye for a winning product!

Neil Pope

Neil Pope, Editor, Garden Trade News

Neil Pope is Editor of Garden Trade News. He has been a journalist all his working life, having edited many national consumer magazines, including Garden News. He moved into trade publishing to become editor of Pet Product Marketing before taking over the reins at GTN.


Andy Schofield, Commercial Trading Manager, Home & Garden Group

Andy has been in the gardening trade for over 20 years, cutting his teeth in the multiples as a junior gardening/plant buyer at Focus DIY.  Andy held various gardening related buying posts at Focus before moving into the independent sector.  Andy entered the digital gardening age when he joined Ideal World, the TV and online retailer where he was the Category Manager for their 'Pure Play' gardening arm.  Responsible for driving multichannel sales across platforms, including, TV and Web Andy's current position of Commercial Trading Manager for the Home and Garden Group, sees him overseeing all the commercial elements of the business as well as dealing with all non-plant related buying, which includes the catering offer.  Andy has a diverse knowledge of the gardening industry with a strong mentality for trading and customer service.

Allan Wilson

Allan Wilson, Senior Buyer, The Klondyke Group

Allan has over 30 years’ experience working in the garden retail and DIY industry in both sales and buying roles. In his current position as senior buyer with the Klondyke group, an organisation with which he has been associated for the past 11 years, he is responsible for managing the garden sundries supply base and developing sourcing strategies for the group's 22 centres across the U.K. Allan's most recent roles prior to joining the Klondyke Group have been as area sales manager for Westland and The Stewart Company.

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