Stephen Bennett moves on from Gardeners' World Live

Stephen Bennett, former shows director of the RHS, who helped to launch BBC Gardeners' World Live in 1993 and who set up the current horticultural team for River Street Events has decided to move on to concentrate on his consultancy work for other clients.

Stephen Bennett
Stephen Bennett

Bennett said: "Launching BBC Gardeners’ World Live was a groundbreaking initiative, bringing together the BBC and the RHS for the first time in presenting a major new gardening show which amplified the BBC’s gardening brands - Gardeners’ World TV programme and Gardeners’ World magazine - and giving the RHS is first major foothold in the Midlands. It enabled the RHS to achieve its horticultural, charitable and commercial objectives whilst supporting British nursery trade exhibitors with what quickly became the UK’s biggest plant selling show. It also materially expanded the RHS’s membership base and was a useful profit generator for the Society. The BBC made a dedicated TV programme and also gave the show its distinctive celebrity identity with all the programme’s gardening presenters taking part - Geoff Hamilton, Alan Titchmarsh, Charlie Dimmock, Toby Buckland, Monty Don, Carol Klein, Joe Swift, Rachel de Thame and Diarmuid Gavin amongst others. 


"I was very proud to have helped to launch the show and even more proud to have been GWL’s Event Director during the show’s most popular and profitable years. Of course managing that three-way relationship between the BBC, the RHS and Haymarket Exhibitions was a challenge and often a bit of a headache, but I enjoyed all that. It was important maintain that working relationship in order for all three organisations to achieve their respective objectives."

The RHS’s decision to withdraw from the event was made after Bennett had left the Society.

Bennett was contacted by River Street Events (who succeeded Haymarket at organisers) to recruit and train the new team for GWL 2016. Described by River Street Events as the new "horticultural dream team", Bennett is widely recognised to have bridged the gap between the old RHS regime and the new arrangements. "I was happy to do that and pleased to have recruited Bob Sweet as horticultural director and Clifford Plowes as horticultural exhibitor manager. Recruiting an experienced nursery trade exhibitor to look after the nursery trade exhibitors was a ‘no brainer’ and has gone down well with the exhibitor community. There’s now a great team on that show, including Bob Sweet and Cliff Plowes supported by Imogen Bodimeade and Rachel Poletti-Gadd, and my former RHS colleague Sarah Sandys Renton on marketing and PR.

"I worked with the senior team at River Street Events to script the press releases, run the exhibitor meetings on site at the 2015 show and prepare the new 2016 exhibitor paperwork as well as the new exhibitor assessment system with Bob. The new arrangements have produced for next week the best BBC GWL for several years.

"But my consultancy business is taking off now and I have to prioritise what’s best for me and my company," Bennett said.

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