Indeed, he has held the position of both HTA president and GCA chairman.
In 1963, Topping set up the North West's first garden centre in the grounds of his mother's hotel, from where he also operated Barton Grange Landscapes.
Over the next four decades he saw the business expand with three wholesale nurseries, a further hotel, two more garden centres, a printing business and a concession to run the first garden centres within DIY sheds. He also developed label-ledge, a garden centre label display system.
During the past 20 years he has handed over the day-to-day running of his empire to his three sons, but he is still a great ambassador for his business and keeps a close eye on what is going on.
Topping was awarded the Pearson Memorial Medal by the HTA, is a fellow of Myerscough College and was awarded an MBE for services to charity in 2003.
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