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Suffolk brewer, conservationist and gardener Bernard Tickner, 93, gets MBE in Queen’s Birthday Honours

PUBLISHED: 11:30 17 June 2017

Fullers Mill Garden horticulturalist, Bernard Tickner, has been made an MBE in the Queen's Birthday Honours list. Picture: GREGG BROWN

Fullers Mill Garden horticulturalist, Bernard Tickner, has been made an MBE in the Queen's Birthday Honours list. Picture: GREGG BROWN

A gardener and brewer from West Stow with a passion for protecting wildlife has been honoured for his dedication to conservation and horticulture.

Bernard Tickner, 93, has been honoured for his dedication to conservation and horticulture. Picture: GREGG BROWNBernard Tickner, 93, has been honoured for his dedication to conservation and horticulture. Picture: GREGG BROWN

Bernard Tickner, 93, is a former head brewer and production director at Greene King, in Bury St Edmunds, and creator of the stunning Fullers Mill Garden that surrounds his house in the West Stow forest.

He has been awarded the Member of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire medal (MBE) in the Queen’s Birthday Honours list.

The announcement comes just as Mr Tickner, who is known to enjoy regaling friends with a story or two, publishes his own memoirs, titled A Scratch in the Soil.

Mr Tickner, who came up with the recipe for the popular Abbot Ale, said: “It is a wonderful feeling. In brewing I have been involved with agriculture with the two ingredients of hops and barley, and I have enjoyed learning gardening as I went a long.”

Bernard Tickner has been made a Member of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire medal (MBE) in the Queens Birthday Honours list. Picture: GREGG BROWNBernard Tickner has been made a Member of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire medal (MBE) in the Queens Birthday Honours list. Picture: GREGG BROWN

The seven acre garden, set on the River Lark, was gifted by Mr Tickner to the Perennial Gardeners’ Royal Benevolent Fund, and is open for visitors from April to September.

Mr Tickner, who grew up in Hadleigh, started on the garden in 1958. “When I arrived it was not really a garden,” he said. “Rough would be the word. The first thing I did is put in a lawn.”

Learning from dozens of books as he went along, Mr Tickner said the garden you can see today was never part of a long term plan.

“It has been a very gradual process,” said Bernard, whose wife Bess died in 2007. “I took things step by step.”

Bernard Tickner, in the Fullers Mill Garden, who has been made an MBE in the Queen's Birthday Honours list. Picture: GREGG BROWNBernard Tickner, in the Fullers Mill Garden, who has been made an MBE in the Queen's Birthday Honours list. Picture: GREGG BROWN

As well as brewing and gardening, Mr Tickner had a passion for protecting wildlife. “The different methods for agriculture were causing wildlife to decline rapidly – they are still declining,” he said. “So I joined the Suffolk Wildlife Trust as soon as it formed.”

Mr Tickner, current vice president of the wildlife trust, instigated the creation of the Suffolk Wildlife Trust Lackford Lakes Nature Reserve, which sits on the doorstep of the gardens.

The book will launch on Tuesday, June 20 and is published by Tentergroud Publishing and has a foreword by Sir Kenneth Carlisle.

To find out more about the garden, go to www.fullersmillgarden.org.uk or phone 01284 728888.

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