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Ken Brown

28 July 1921 - 20 March 2019

 Ken Brown was a co-founder of our Society and will be missed by many.  He supported the society in so many ways over the years and was a true Ambassador of the society and of our Fuchsia. He was appointed Honorary Life Past President in recognition of his lifetime dedication to our Society.  In tribute to Ken’s life and for his contribution to the society, I have included an article Ken wrote some time ago detailing the History of our Society: -  

The Nottingham and Notts. Fuchsia Society 

In the early summer of 1971, several members of the British Fuchsia Society who lived locally met in one of George Roe’s greenhouses.  A discussion took place and it was thought it would be appropriate to have a local society.  To this end, George Roe who was a BFS committee member said he would contact the BFS secretary for a list of local BFS members.

These members were contacted and a meeting was held on August 24th 1971 at the Admiral Rodney public house at Wollaton.  Sixteen persons attended the meeting and a committee was formed.  George Roe was elected President, Pete Smith as Secretary and Frank Otter as Treasurer.  Meetings continued at the Rodney and Society rules were drawn up.  In November the Secretary resigned and Betty Watson was appointed Secretary and Ken Brown was appointed Show Secretary as it was decided to hold a show in 1972.

After a lot of hard work, the show was held in Messrs. Gregory’s rose gardens packing shed.  It was a huge success with several trade stands – George Roe’s 15 feet square at the entrance, Mr Wallwin of Retford with a 30 feet long stand of geraniums, Mr Hunt with cut dahlias, Mr Burkin with a stand of geraniums and house plants, the Wine Circle and our own stand of donated plants.  The members worked hard - on the Wednesday night before the show, they assembled with brushes and shovels to clean the sludge etc. off the floor and make it presentable.  On the Thursday night they collected the staging from the Dahlia Society, the Chrysanthemum Society and worst of all from Raleigh Social.  The Raleigh tables used to take six men to lift them onto the transport (which we hired from Messrs. Riley of Hucknall) and erected in the hall.  On Monday night the staging was returned to its different sources.

The first show was judged by Leo Boullemier and Alf Thornley who only charged their travelling expenses to help get the society on its feet.  We saw some wonderful plants (better plants than we see today), ‘Countess of Aberdeen’ from Ray Moore and Mr Bates of Birmingham.  Ron Venables, the king of the 3 ½ inch pots, Windram Bros. from Leicester with their baskets, members from Derby, Chapel St. Leonards and Sutton Coldfield supported through the early years.

When Raleigh and the Dahlia Society finished, we hired staging from Messrs. Crocker’s at Chellaston who delivered it to the hall and collected, that made it easy, but it was costly and the society was existing on less than a hundred pounds a year.

We changed our meeting place to the Crown public house on Western Boulevard for more room.  By the way, subs were only 5 shillings a year, twenty five pence in modern money.

After three or four years, we had the BFS Midland Show with us and thanks to Les Duce and family we got the basket stands which we have today, and he carried them on the Midland Red bus.  After a few years we lost the show hall and moved first into a smaller shed and then into one of the greenhouses.

In the meantime, we had changed our meeting venue to All Saints Church Hall, Ilkeston Road.  Then we moved to St Margaret’s Church Hall, Aspley Lane where we were told to leave as we broke the safety rules with having 180 people in the hall, so we moved to our present meeting place, Bluecoat School.  We moved the show there as well.

While all this was happening, the following served as Secretary - Geoff Smith, Muriel Buckley, Joe Leary, Gordon Thorley, Ken Brown, Peter Bovey, Patricia Dyson and Eileen Stevenson.  Treasurers were Geoff Smith, Christine Clements and Terry Hill, who was followed by our present Treasurer Alan Darkins.

In the early years Cyril Jackson was Chairman. He was followed by Joe Bragg who served for twenty years before becoming President. 

Ken Brown served as Show Secretary for 17 years, Shirley Williams for 4 or 5 years, Fred Wesson about the same and was followed by the present secretary Mick Leighton.

Terry Hill managed to secure the staging from Linby Miners Welfare when it closed and Fred Wesson made the trestles.

Over the years, assisted by the Rose Society, Geranium Society, Wine Circle, we put a display on in a marquee on Wollaton Park at the end of May, when we sold plants and cuttings given by the members to finance the society.  In later years we were part of the Nottingham City Show.  In the late 80s, we took part in a show at Holme Pierrepont Water Sports Centre hosted by a firm from Bristol and we had the best stand in the show.

I would like to put on record the help we got from the Editor of the Evening Post and Nancy Walters who used to write the ‘Gardening News’ in the Post.

Ken Brown