Steve Pickering started working for Challis of York at 15 years old. His first job included picking cabbages. He helped to set up the nursery in the fields opposite the centre. Challis opened their first centre in York in 1964 and Steve was one of the first employees at this very successful centre.
He worked in every area of the centre over the years working his way up to general manager by 1969. Wyevale purchased the centre in 1993 and Steve achieved great success as centre manager of York, only stepping down due to his failing eyesight. He remained a valued employee and was considered the backbone of the centre. His horticultural knowledge was invaluable and he shared this with countless employees over the years. In 2009, Steve received the prestigious Royal Horticultural Society’s Long Service Medal for 47 years’ dedicated service to the industry and it was presented to him at a ceremony at Wyevale’s Head Office at Syon Park by the President of the RHS.
In 2011, Steve was diagnosed with cancer and although he continued to work in the outside planteria, he retired in May 2012. Despite surgery, chemotherapy and radiotherapy, Steve’s health deteriorated and in early 2017 it was clear that Steve was losing his long battle with cancer. Steve was cared for at home by his family and most recently by the nursing team at St Leonard’s Hospice in York, where he sadly passed away on 9th August 2017, aged 70 years, surrounded by his family.
Steve will be forever remembered as Steve from Challis’ and will be sorely missed by family, friends and those who worked with him or knew him from his many years spent living and working in Poppleton.
A burial service will be held at Mowthorpe Garden of Rest, Terrington on Thursday 24th August at 10.30am followed by a celebration of his life at Poppleton Methodist Church, Upper Poppleton at 12.30pm. All welcome.