Pete Weston, editor of Horticulture Week, died last weekend after suffering a pulmonary embolism. Aged 40, he was taken ill at home on Friday evening and died in hospital on Saturday morning.
Weston leaves behind a three-year-old son, Gabey, and a partner, Lesley Topp, known to friends and family as Lel. She is expecting their second child. Weston was appointed editor of Horticulture Week in 1999, and he presided over a successful expansion and relaunch of the magazine this summer, followed by the launch of a bi-monthly, Garden Retail, in September.
Lord Heseltine, chairman of Haymarket, which publishes HW, said: “This is shattering news. I knew Pete not only as a great pioneering editor but also as a fellow enthusiast for everything that grows. He dies at a time when his magazine is enjoying enormous success, a success in which he was instrumental. He will be much missed by his many friends in the industry and in the company.”
A man who brought passion and enthusiasm to everything he did, Weston began his career in 1987 on local newspapers in Redbridge and Harlow in his native Essex. He spent a year working for Greenpeace, then joined Haymarket as a sub editor on General Practitioner magazine. In 1994, he took a year out to cycle round Australia with his partner, Lel, returning to GP then joining Horticulture Week in 1996 as production editor. Outside of work, he was a cycling fanatic; he once listed his hobbies as cycling, cycling and cycling. In fact, he had interests in areas such as conservation, climbing, sailing and fixing up VW camper vans.
Vicky Browning, editor of HW from 1995 to 1999, and a long-time colleague of Weston writes: “Pete was a character, with a huge passion for life and he adored Lel and son Gabey. He was a fanatic cyclist, and was passionate about Horticulture Week and the industry it serves. He was very proud of his achievements on the magazine.
“When he set up the horticulture MP lobby group, he was thrilled to have done something with real and lasting benefits for the industry. When we launched Landscape & Amenity Buyer, he loved the kit- testing sessions and always wanted to try out the ride-on equipment.
“We worked together for several years on Horticulture Week. His desk often looked as if it had been hit by a whirlwind, but it was just another aspect of the energy that made him the lynchpin of the team. The magazine always came together beautifully in the end, and its continuing success and growing group of associated titles are testament to his professionalism and skills as a journalist and editor.
“I find it hard to believe that a man with such an appetite for life has gone. We missed our last lunch together because Pete had forgotten to put it in his diary. He was full of remorse afterwards, but now it’s me who regrets that it didn’t happen. There seemed to be plenty of time to arrange another date.”
Horticulture Week’s managing director Stephen Farish added: “Pete’s energy and enthusiasm for Horticulture Week, and for life in general, was extraordinary. He was immensely proud of his team and the magazine and he was brimming with development ideas.
“He was an inspirational colleague, and a great guy to have around in good times or bad. A few years ago, Pete and I took part in a Haymarket team on the 24-hour Three Peaks Challenge to raise money for charity in some of the worst weather ever experienced on that event. Throughout it all, Pete demonstrated that he was not only the fittest of all of us, but also a kindhearted and selfless companion. We shall miss him dreadfully.”
Details of the funeral arrangements will be published on the web site, www.hortweek.com, as soon as they are known.
To send letters of condolence to Pete’s partner, Lesley Topp, the address is: 2 Mote Cottages, Mote Road, Ivy Hatch, Nr Sevenoaks, Kent, TN15 0NT, although she has requested no flowers.
- HW will be publishing a full obituary next week. Readers and friends who would like to contribute to the article are invited to e-mail Amy Jenkins, news editor, at email@example.com.