Horticulture industry figures given top New Year honours

Valley Grown Nurseries' Gary Taylor among those awarded in the New Year Honours, with an MBE.

Taylor: co-founded the Pepper Technology Group 10 years ago - image: HW
Taylor: co-founded the Pepper Technology Group 10 years ago - image: HW

Horticulturists were among those honoured in the 2013 New Year Honours List.

Gary Taylor, managing director of Valley Grown Nurseries and former vice-chairman of the NFU Horticulture and Potato Board, was awarded an MBE for his services to the UK pepper industry.

He told HW: "I didn't have a clue it was coming until an official-looking envelope arrived at my door. I think it was down to (Lea Valley Growers Association secretary) Lee Stiles. No one in the industry, at least not in the circles I mix in, has been honoured like this."

Taylor co-founded the 36-member Pepper Technology Group (PTG) 10 years ago to raise the profile of UK pepper growing.

He is putting together a PTG cookbook, expected to be published this spring. Taylor, who chairs the HDC protected edibles panel, also chairs the LVGA and said: "At one point I was on 14 different industry boards and panels - I was in danger of not focusing on the day job."

Former Defra secretary of state from 2001-06 Margaret Beckett was made a Dame. Former Defra minister Jim Paice was knighted. The British Empire Medal (BEM) was awarded to North Devon orchard conservationist Michael Gee.

Receiving a CBE was Liberal Democrat MP, farmer and former Brecon and Radnorshire NFU branch chairman Roger Williams for public and political service.

Roll call - Awarded

- Dr Miles Michael Parker, director of strategic evidence and analysis at Defra, was awarded an OBE for services to improving Government science.

- Forestry Regulation Task Force chairman Chris Starr becomes an OBE.

- A CBE went to Stephen Visscher, deputy CEO for the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Centre.

- Dr Karen Liebreich became an MBE for services to education/horticulture at Chiswick House.

- Soil Association project manager Pamela Rodway made an MBE for the promotion of sustainable food production and food education in Scotland.

- Robert Emile Collins was honoured for his services to Meanwood Valley Urban Farm and the community in Leeds.

- Wilhelmina Elizabeth Houston, a staff officer at the College of Agriculture, Food and Rural Enterprise, Northern Ireland Executive, was made an MBE.

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