FLOWER arranger and demonstrator Gareth Ball has said farewell to a positively blooming career.
But the Victoria Flower Shop, which he founded 37 years ago, is set to continue to grow – thanks to Gareth’s long-standing colleague, Tina Holt, who has worked with him for over three decades and has now taken over the Whalley Road shop.
Gareth has retired to live in the Lake District, 37 years to the day since he started up his floristry business in Accrington in 1970.
Now 60, he and his wife Chris have moved to the village of Sedgwick near Kendal where they can enjoy walking, swimming and, of course, flower arranging – as a hobby. Gareth now works closely with the National Trust in flower arranging at nearby Sizergh Castle.
Speaking from his new home this week, he said: “We are enjoying the peace and tranquility here in the Lakes. We have had some glorious weather and the autumn has been breathtaking.
“I had the shop for over 30 years and have seen many changing trends in floristry.
“Over the years there have been many memorable moments. It has been tremendous.”
Gareth, whose actress daughter, Rachel Battersby, has also moved to the Lakes from London to run her own theatre company, opened up the florists in 1970 and, with the help of his dedicated team, he built up the business.
One of his team was Tina, who joined one of Gareth’s flower demonstration classes at the tender age of 12.
Now 47, mother-of-three Tina took over the business after Gareth’s retirement in September.
Tina, who lives in Belthorn with husband David and sons Rhys, 11, Cameron, 10, and Nial eight, recalled: “I was a Girl Guide doing my flower arranging badge.
“I was too young to go to a night school class so my mum and I went to one of Gareth’s classes.
“He offered me a Saturday job and then he offered me a full-time job when I finished school – and here I am today.
“I have loved it. We had a great time.”
Tina gained her Society of Floristry Diploma 20 years after Gareth gained his and over the years they have celebrated many milestones, not least the Queen Mother’s 90th birthday, with themed windows in the shop.
Now Tina hopes to carry on the tradition and expand the business with her helpers Kath Keenan and Jennifer Lyon.