Birmingham head of parks awarded MBE for services to environment

Darren Share, head of parks at Birmingham City Council has been awarded an MBE in the New Year's honours list for services to the environment in Birmingham.

Darren Share at the 2015 RHS Chelsea Flower Show
Darren Share at the 2015 RHS Chelsea Flower Show

Earlier this year Share's team won a Gold Medal at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show for an innovatively funded exhibit designed to smash perceptions of Birmingham as England's "grey city".

At ground level along the length of each side of the exhibit - a floral celebration of 300 years of Birmingham Cathedral - 264 miniature glass church-style windows were sited with the names of individuals who donated to the cost of staging the exhibit etched onto them.

Together with other donations that the team received, Share said the revenue generated not only completely covered the £50,000 cost of the exhibit but also the cost of rebuilding it in the grounds of the cathedral.

At the time, Share said of the exhibit: "We are doing this to raise the profile of Birmingham as a horticultural city with a proud tradition of In Bloom and a large parks service - and to show that Birmingham is not a grey city."

On the budget constraints facing parks that have put other local authority teams off from exhibiting at the flower show, he added: "There's always a way of getting through if you really want to do it. We're not going to go down without raising the profile of parks."

Also receiving honours were the following:

  • Helen Dickinson has been awarded an OBE in the New Year’s Honours List for 2016 for services to the retail industry.
  • Defra's Steve Ashby, lately policy adviser, international plant health, has been awarded an OBE for services to protecting plant health.
  • Sir Roy Strong, owner of Lasketts, became a Companion of Honour, for services to culture.
  • Greenfingers ambassador, actress Imelda Staunton, became a CBE.
  • Farmer and founder, Open Farm Sunday and chairman, Farming and Countryside Education. Ian Pigott becomes an OBE.
  • Epping Forest verderer Peter Adams becomes a MBE.
  • Wilma Harper, director, corporate and forestry support division, Forestry Commission, becomes a MBE.

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