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S&C Slatter celebrates 30 years

S&C Slatter celebrates 30 years: Leading sports construction specialists S&C Slatter celebrate 30th anniversary of family-owned business

Founded in 1991 by Stephen and Caroline Slatter, the Newbury based company is a leading provider of sports facilities and estate infrastructure for the sports, leisure and education sectors, and has earned an exceptional reputation for quality and service resulting in continued growth over 30 years.

S&C Slatter celebrates 30 years

S&C Slatter celebrates 30 years

Enjoying rapid expansion under the leadership of current CEO, David Slatter, the company has a long list of achievements to its name, from becoming the world’s first International Hockey Federation (FIH) Certified Field Builder to delivering Europe’s first Major League Baseball field at the London Stadium.

The company shows no sign of slowing down, currently constructing two world-class athletics tracks as part of the Alexander Stadium redevelopment, while recently announcing an exclusive new finance partnership with Buckingham Leasing, allowing clients to spread the cost of new sports pitches, courts and tracks over time.

Jason Douglass, Group Director, The Slatter Group commented:

In my 10+ years at the company, it’s been a pleasure to witness such enormous growth, thanks in no small part to the continued leadership and presence of the Slatter family. The shared vision, intelligence, direction and integrity in which the business and employees operate reflect our heritage, advancement and the core family values upon which S&C Slatter was founded.”

Ben O’Connor, Managing Director of S&C Slatter, presented members of the Slatter family with a 30th anniversary gift at the company offices in Enborne, while company staff delivered personal video messages, enabling everyone to join in with the celebrations despite coronavirus restrictions.

Ben commented:

“S&C Slatter’s legacy extends beyond just the thousands of fantastic sports facilities we have delivered in the last 30 years. The long-term employment, personal development and incomes the company has provided for families based both locally and nationally is a source of great pride. We’re honoured to have built a company with long-term sustainable growth and a team of brilliant individuals that thrives together, with a deep-rooted commitment to honesty and integrity.”

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Auto Roller celebrate 100 years

Auto Roller celebrate 100 years: Auto-Roller – the world famous cricket roller is celebrating its 100 year anniversary, the first design finalised in 1921, manufactured and delivered all over the world ever since. An iconic design that still continues to be the choice of the world’s top groundsmen, from village cricket clubs to international grounds.

History:

Auto-Roller began its life as a product of the Auto-Mower Company (of Norton St.Philip, Bath, Somerset) founded by G Grist in 1920 upon leaving the army in 1918.

Auto Roller celebrate 100 years

Auto Roller celebrate 100 years

Back in the 1920’s the first Auto-Rollers were made from castings (supplied by Dennings of Chard) and bolted together, the design (finalised in 1921) has somewhat evolved since. The earliest Auto-Rollers can be identified by looking at the hand of the steering worm spur gears as these were used to get the steering to work the right way! The original engines were water cooled petrol engines, mainly JA Prestwich Engines.

A variety of rollers were manufactured for a number of applications, including hockey pitches, and as modified tractors rolling airfields.

Following on from this the Mower manufacturing rights were bought in 1946 by Ransome, Sims and Jefferies and the remainder of the business (including The Auto-Roller) was sold to TH White, Devizes in 1968.

At their time at TH White (Frome, Somerset) several types of engines were used; Briggs and Stratton petrol Engines or a Lister diesel Engines, eventually evolving to using a Kubota air cooled Engine (OC95) with just one fitted with power steering.

In 1995 Autoguide Equipment purchased the Auto-Roller Business from TH White thus keeping the Auto-Roller manufacturing and its history in Wiltshire. The traditions set by Auto Mower and followed by TH White are still being followed by us to this day.

The Auto-Rollers history with Autoguide from 1995:

  • We have always manufactured the Auto-Rollers with power steering and hydrostatic transmission
  • Due to some locations having a number of pitches some distance apart, we designed the roller to include a Twin Cylinder water cooled diesel engine, this made the journey that much faster.
  • USB Socket has been added (for the modern world)
  • The ECB guidelines for rolling pitches show that our standard rollers achieve the optimum mass/width factor for all pitch performance levels and we supply the Auto-Roller worldwide to Test Wickets as well as at County and Club level.
  • All Auto-Rollers now use precision ball bearings, which keep power requirement and maintenance to a minimum. The rolls are fully machined from 20mm thick steel, ensuring perfect concentricity and allowing the optimum radius at the roll edges.
  • Auto-Rollers as old as 1948 can have our repower kit fitted. This is effectively a ‘heart transplant’, giving them a new lease of life.

At Autoguide it is in our nature to always strive to look at ways we can improve design and engineering across all of our products. We have been working on concepts for our new ‘Green’ Auto-Roller which we endeavour to share with you soon!

Auto-Roller Range:

Standard Features:

Diesel Engine
Power Steering
Electric Start
Fully Hydrostatic Transmission

Up to 5mph Forward and Reverse
Tiltable steering wheel for best visibility
Bio-degradable oil

4ft Auto-Roller

Liquid cooled low emission Kubota 2 cylinder diesel engine

Smooth, quiet operation

Pre-lubricated bearings on roller shafts and precision machined rolls

Perfect pitch preparation

Full hydrostatic transmission and power steering, fully contained and run on biodegradable oil

Simple, safe and easy use

3ft Auto-Roller

Air-cooled low emission Hatz diesel engine

Easy maintainability

Smaller 3ft roll width, with no compromise to pitch preparation or ease of use

Cost effective option

Lower weight, with option of additional water ballast when in use

Towable by  suitable commercial vehicles

Our Re-Power Kit – Bringing the more mature rollers back to life!

The Re-Power Kit is an Auto-Roller specific bolt-in kit to update your existing machine. Having removed the existing engine, transmission and steering linkage, the Re-Power Kit (Hatz Diesel 9hp) simply bolts in.

The Re-power Kit can be installed by your own workshop or local engineer. Alternatively we offer a fitting service at our Wiltshire factory with the option of a complete refurbishment with shotblasting and respray of the old Roller.

Worldwide Stories:

Auto-Rollers are exported to wickets all over the world.  We have rollers on many of the Caribbean islands, In Bangladesh, and this year we shipped a gold one in our container shipment of Auto-Rollers to Australia!

There was a time when we shipped a roller to the Caribbean, bought through the foreign commonwealth office. We received a fax from the governor’s office explaining that the roller would stop after an hour’s use. We thought this could be due to the heat. It transpired that the back roll kept going round but the front roll stopped. After a series of fax exchanges we suggested that they jack up the rollers front rolls and put some grease in the grease nipples in the end of the roll shaft and roll the rolls. They hadn’t greased it for 18 months and the rolls had seized as they warmed up! That prompted us to change the design of the front rolls so they had lubricated for life ball bearings in them, which they still have to this day.

Auto-Roller travelling:  a local college has multiple pitches of which are accessed via grass slopes. The brakes were notorious for not working, this called for a redesign on the brake (whilst the hydrostatic transmission would enable control of the roller on hills) if the engine stops and the transmission fails the brake was then able to stop the roller.

In Jamaica they had to postpone a test match as they were unable to get the ground even using a single roll, they decided to buy an AutoRoller to rectify the problem – the roller was air freighted to Jamaica to arrive in the soonest possible time and to this day it would have been the fastest travelling Auto-Roller!

Edgbaston

We are proud that the Auto-Roller is the first choice of Test Cricket and were delighted that Edgbaston chose to have their new roller in gold and are the first ground in the UK to have received one.  Gary Barwell is a pleasure to work with, we enjoyed meeting the fantastic grounds team who work incredibly hard to keep the grounds pitch perfect.

It was a privilege to able to retake a photo of the same member of the team 20 years on, first on Edgbaston’s blue roller (only recently refurbished) and then on their new gold roller 20 years later.

Edgbaston have been a long standing customer of ours and we love nothing more than to see our Auto-Rollers at home on the grounds.

Centenary Celebrations

As part of our centenary celebrations we are offering to paint our newly manufactured rollers in gold at no extra charge, as well as returning back to the original front plaque on all of our rollers. Due to the personality that evolves with the life of the Auto-Rollers each roller is now named.

There will be various competitions opening up on our twitter page (@autoroller) so please follow to keep up to date with the latest information.

There is a beauty in the heritage of our Auto-Rollers, we are very proud of the prestige and design that has evolved over the years. We hold a book of serial numbers dating back to the 1940s, some rollers are still continuing to roll with our re-power kits, bringing the more mature rollers back to life.

We are holding various competitions on our twitter page @autoroller to celebrate. And if a new roller – gold or green – is of interest please don’t hesitate to get in touch 01380 850885 – www.cricketroller.co.uk

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Gullane and Toro partnership to hit 25 years

Gullane and Toro partnership to hit 25 years: Gullane Golf Club in Scotland and Toro certainly have history. With the latest deal taking it to 25 years, it’s a partnership claimed to have produced putting surfaces as close to perfection as nature will allow. 

That accolade was made about the effect of the Greensmaster TriFlex Hybrid 3420 mowers on the course for the Scottish Open three years ago and with a new machine in the club’s last order, clearly the Toro effect continues.

Gullane and Toro partnership to hit 25 years

Gullane and Toro partnership to hit 25 years

“Toro gave us the attention to detail to create near-perfect conditions. It always has, and it’s why this latest deal takes our relationship to a quarter of a century,” says course manager Stewart Duff.

With three 18-hole courses, Gullane No. 1 carved into ancient links turf, Gullane No. 2 sweeping down to a nature reserve, and Gullane No. 3 with views across Aberlady Bay to the Firth of Forth and beyond, it’s no wonder the club is regarded as one of the most picturesque golf spots in the world. And with a state of the art short game practice area, driving range and children’s course as well, Toro certainly has a lot of area to cover when it comes to maintaining the course. Helping with that is the Groundsmaster 4700-D, which is a like-for-like replacement in the last order from Toro distributor Reesink Turfcare.

Stewart explains: “We split our Toro fleet between the courses as we have so much ground to cover, but there are a couple of machines we use across all three; the Groundsmaster 4700-D is one of those machines. With a cutting width of 12.5ft alongside a high-powered engine it’s incredibly productive.”

And it certainly gets put to good use at Gullane, says Stewart: “In the growing season we have the machine in use five days a week across all the courses, doing three times the amount of work compared to our machines that just work on the one course. So the 4700-D that we had in our last fleet for four years, actually did the equivalent of 12 years’ worth of work – but even then, it was still going strong when we signed the new agreement.”

Joining the Groundsmaster 4700-D and the Greensmaster TriFlex Hybrid 3420 mowers in the last fleet purchase was the Toro Workman utility vehicle and ProPass 200 topdresser.

Stewart continues: “We’re constantly looking at small tweaks we can make in order to get the best possible results and improve the courses for all, and Toro plays a big part in that. For example, we opted for the two Reelmaster 3550-D fairway mowers as the smaller sized cutting units allowed us to follow the contours better, which results in a better quality of cut. The slick tyres on the machines also prevent any turf damage when turning.”

Included as part of Gullane’s tournament support fleet in 2018 were Toro’s GTX electric utility vehicles and they certainly impressed Stewart with him saying at the time he’d be changing his utility vehicles to be Toro based on his positive experience. The arrival of three Workman utility vehicles in the last order sees Stewart true to his word and it sounds as though Toro will be around for many more years to come at Gullane.

Stewart concludes: “The team and I are delighted to have Toro here at the club for another five years; although realistically that’s more than likely going to be another 10 years. We really do feel as though we have the best possible machinery for the courses and with a club that wholeheartedly supports that relationship, I can only see us continuing to invest in Toro in the future.”

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55 years of dedication

55 years of dedication: Mick Oldfield turned 80 in March and for the last 55 of those years he has been a cornerstone of one cricket club.

Read the full article from The Daily Mail here

55 years of dedication

55 years of dedication

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Team Sprayers celebrate 40 years

Team Sprayers celebrate 40 years: British Sprayer company Team Sprayers are celebrating this year as they reach a milestone anniversary on 15th January – 40 years of manufacturing at their Ely factory in Cambridgeshire.

Team Sprayers was established by Bob Hubbard back in January 1981 after the closure of well-known company Dorman sprayers. A team of staff were recruited from the previous company bringing with them specialist skills and knowledge which were an essential building block for the newly founded company, one member of the original team still works for the business, stores manager Steve Whitehand. Utilising these skills combined with the 40 years’ experience Team has become a respected UK manufacturer supplying the Agricultural and Groundcare industries.

Team Sprayers celebrate 40 years

Team Sprayers celebrate 40 years

Team have a range of 12 different machines in the Groundcare range including, pedestrian, trailed, mounted and de-mountable options. All come with a range of options as standard and can be retro fitted with optional extras such as GPS mapping and boom section & nozzle control.

Team’s best selling Demount Pro Sprayer is popular with golf courses and comes in a range of tank sizes  of 400L, 600L and 800L and with boom options of 6m, 7m, 8m, 10m and 12m manual folding or 6-8m hydraulic folding.

Managing Director Danny Hubbard said: “We have experienced an increase in demand for our sprayers over recent years in both our agricultural and groundcare ranges which has led to investment in the expansion of the factory building, firstly to increase our production facilities and secondly to  alter the flow through the factory to improve efficiencies. Plus we have increased our outside yard space for testing and storage of the larger machines with plans to continue our expansion further over the next few years.

Team Sprayers celebrate 40 years

Team Sprayers celebrate 40 years

As a UK manufacturer with a majority customer base here in the UK, we have always had the ability to react quickly, give realistic lead times and provide an unrivalled back-up service. We have been fortunate to be able to continue production through these difficult times, but as for many businesses 2020 was a challenging year, with the uncertainty of the Brexit trade deal and the effect this could potentially have on our imports and exports and then we were thrown the Covid 19 pandemic!  Going into 2021 and our 40th year, we are hopeful that things will settle down and we are looking forward to a ‘new normal’ whatever that may be. It’s been an incredible 40 years and I look forward to seeing what the business can achieve in the future”.

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Greenkeeper retires after 47 years

Greenkeeper retires after 47 years: Clonmel Golf Club greenkeeper Sean Harte is retiring in 2021 after a fantastic 47 years of loyal service.

Read the full article from Tipperary Live here

Greenkeeper retires after 47 years

Greenkeeper retires after 47 years

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Greenkeeper shares 40 years of memories

Greenkeeper shares 40 years of memories: A dedicated greenkeeper thought to be one of the longest serving in the industry is celebrating spending 40 years at the same golf club.

Terry Wharton joined Haydock Park Golf Club in April 1980 as a young man and is now head greenkeeper.

Greenkeeper shares 40 years of memories

Greenkeeper shares 40 years of memories

He said: “The 40 years have gone quickly and I’ve been very fortunate to spend most of my working life in a beautiful landscape, working with good greenkeepers and staff trying to raise the standards and the playability of our course.”

There have been plenty of changes since he first took up his role at the club.

“The early years saw limited machinery on the course, with most surfaces cut with hand machines, except for fairways and rough that were cut with tractor and gang mowers,” he said.

“The top-dressing facility of a self-contained hopper supersedes the tractor, trailer and wheelbarrow that in the early 1980s you’d be lucky to dress greens with 20 tonnes throughout the year, against 120 tonnes delivered in a two-month period in the spring at the present time.”

With the advancements in technology and more televised golf events, Terry has seen many changes during his career.

He said: “The golfers’ desire for better surfaces has seen the staffing levels raised at most clubs compared to the early years, with busy clubs realising the work programme for the day needs to be completed quickly and efficiently before the golfers start their round, with only the basic tasks being completed early afternoon. This point can be shown with our start times in the summer of 1980 – we had an 8am start with a 5pm finish against present start time 6am with a 2pm finish, allowing the greens team to complete most of the course set-up before the course gets busy.”

Terry said his favourite part of the club was its members, remembering one in particular.

He said: “We’ve had some real characters playing the game at Haydock Park, none more so than Jack Padoue, who was one of the ‘old guard’.

“On arrival at the club one Monday dinner, Jack was met with builders in the men’s locker room.

“Jack looked surprised, ‘how dare they work’ on the day he played, and it may affect his preparation on setting up for his four ball. Jack’s four ball was run to military precision and woe betide anyone getting in Jack’s way!

“So the builders were told by Jack what was expected from them – he wanted a ‘quick clean efficient job and by the way turn that radio off, don’t you realise you’re working at a private members’ golf club?’

“The builders came across Jack a few more times before they finished the work and were met with the same abruptness.

“On the builders completing the locker room Jack realised his key wouldn’t open his locker. On further inspection someone had accidentally spilled some super glue into the lock, we wondered who….”

Stephen Nicholson, the club’s business manager, paid tribute to Terry’s loyal service.

He said: “Wow, 40 years – that’s longer than I’ve been on this planet. It’s a feat that’s rarely matched these days, with more and more people opting to move from position to position to progress their careers. Terry’s loyalty has been at the heart of his longevity here.

“Alongside this what I am impressed with the most about Terry is his enthusiasm to continue to learn and develop.

“We’ve sent him down to Oxford to see how a different style of greenkeeping works, we’ve updated our systems so he now has a computer in his office, has access to Word, Excel and email whilst updating everything in the cloud along with an online planner in the form of Turfkeeper that tracks all shifts, financial planning of stock, seed, fertiliser applied etc.

“It’s great that Terry continues to push for more and we look forward to continuing to work together for the next 40 years! You are a credit to the club, your profession and your family. Once this crisis is over we will no doubt have a proper celebration for Terry – in the meantime, thanks again for all that you do and keep up the great work.”

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Celebrating 10 years of seminars

Celebrating 10 years of seminars: Dennis and SISIS are celebrating an impressive decade of groundcare seminars this year. In this article, we look at the history and development of the seminars and how they have proved to be so beneficial for so many of the unsung heroes in a wide variety of sports turf sectors.   

The ever-popular Dennis and SISIS groundcare seminars, are first and foremost, education-based events, supported by expert speakers with both indoor presentations and outdoor practical sessions. The seminars aim to connect like-minded people where they can find advice, learn new skills and techniques as well as offer fantastic networking opportunities. A large number of groundcare individuals have significantly benefitted from attending the seminars over the years including volunteers and professionals representing schools, sports clubs, local authorities and contractors.

Celebrating 10 years of seminars

Celebrating 10 years of seminars

The humble origins of the seminars can be traced back long before this ten-year period when both Dennis and SISIS were operating as separate entities and hosted educational groundcare events for their respective customer bases.  However, in 2011, SISIS was acquired by the Howardson Group to sit alongside Dennis as a division to provide the groundcare industry with a truly comprehensive range of British manufactured turf maintenance products. It was at this point in history that the two manufacturers combined their extensive knowledge and expertise and the groundcare seminars were taken to another level.

This monumental year saw a series of seminars addressing a wide range of sports turf topics including a dedicated bowls seminar which took place in North Kessock, Scotland; and a cricket themed seminar which took place at Uxbridge Cricket Club in Middlesex, London.

These early seminars set the precedent and over the years, they continued to evolve. From winter pitch maintenance, to early spring maintenance; from renovations to soil core clinics – the seminars have, and continue to, offer advice in a number of groundcare aspects.

As the seminars grew in stature, support and reputation, so too did the illustrious and extensive list of expert speakers. Take for example the expert panel at the most recent seminar held at Durham County Cricket Club’s Emirates Riverside which included Vic Demain (Durham CCC), Karl McDermott (MCC, Lord’s), Jim Dawson (BT Murrayfield) and Keith Kent (Head Pitch Advisor to Rugby Groundsmen Connected).

From the first seminar in North Kessock to the most recent at the Emirates Riverside, the series of seminars have accumulated some truly astonishing statistics.

  • 87 venues across the country
  • 550 hours of education
  • Expert speakers covering 300 informative sessions
  • Over 4,800 delegates

Whether a groundsman or a greenkeeper in employment or a volunteer; whether highly experienced or just starting out in the industry; throughout this ten-year period so many people associated with the maintenance of sports turf have benefited from attending the Dennis and SISIS seminars. One look at some of the testimonials which have been gathered over the years are certainly testament to this.

Vic Demain has been a long-term supporter of the seminars and has been a speaker at many over the years: “Having been involved with the Dennis and SISIS cricket groundcare seminars since their launch in 2011, it has been fascinating to see the growth of the events, together with the interest shown by the industry.

“The beauty of many of these events is being able to share time with likeminded folk, making new contacts and discovering that no matter what level one works at, we all have the same passion. The interaction between presenters and delegates at these events will give the audience a desire to get back onto their grounds.”

Commenting on the seminars, Keith Kent explained why he feels they are so valuable: “I think that as part of everybody’s education, every day should be a school day and these seminars, where there are such high-quality speakers, are a vital opportunity to progress.

Commenting on a bowls seminar held at the Backworth Miners Welfare Bowls Club in Newcastle upon Tyne, Robert Blacklock from North Tyneside local authority said: “I’ve found the day to be extremely useful and informative with excellent presentations. I do not have a lot of experience in this field and have recently started some courses on turf maintenance. The seminar was not overwhelming, and it was pitched at the correct level.”

Nigel Pearce, Head Groundsman at Lechlade Cricket Club, attended a seminar at  Gloucestershire County Cricket Club along with his chairman and revealed that it was beneficial for the both of them: “For me it was great to catch up with a number of fellow groundsmen who I already knew and it was good to meet new ones as well. It was also really interesting listening to speakers like Chris Wood and having the opportunity to go out and look at the square. My chairman also came along with me today and I’m really pleased because he has learnt a lot about what I do and received an insight into the issues I may encounter on a day-to-day basis.”

Speaking at a renovation seminar held at St Albans School, Woollam Trust Playing Fields, Lee Marshallsay, Grounds Manager at Charterhouse School said: “It’s been very beneficial for my team and I like the fact that it is aimed at everyone – it’s not just for those in the top positions. To get everyone together from grass roots upwards works really well. I think the indoor seminars and the outdoor practical demonstrations have provided a good mix. You get to see the machines in action and many people here wouldn’t have seen that before so for them to have more of an idea of what equipment is out there is ideal.”

Derek Traill of Cricket Scotland, summarised the seminars perfectly after attending the most recent event in Durham: “The key message coming out of today’s event is that it is all about communication and to strive to learn off one another – we learn from one another’s experiences, failures and successes and from these we can build on them and improve as one,” he said.

Although we are currently facing testing times, Dennis and SISIS are looking forward to resuming the seminars with the groundcare community.

“I’m extremely proud to be celebrating ten years of groundcare seminars – they have a long history and a great tradition,” said Roger Moore, Sales and Marketing Manager. “The seminars are about attendees getting as much information as they can and making the day enjoyable. They can go away with some excellent knowledge which they can then put into practice on their own sites. Over the years the events have been a tremendous success and I am looking forward to continuing our support for the groundcare community.”

Further information about the range of maintenance products available can be found by visiting www.dennisuk.com / www.sisis.com.

For more news, reviews and insightful views, you can follow Dennis on Twitter and Instagram @DennisMowers and SISIS @SISISMachinery. You can like the Facebook pages – www.facebook.com/DennisMowersUK and www.facebook.com/SISISMachinery. You can also view the latest Dennis and SISIS videos by visiting www.youtube.com/DennisMowers and www.youtube.com/SISISMachinery.

For the latest industry news visit turfmatters.co.uk/news

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Greenkeeper’s 30 years of service

Greenkeeper’s 30 years of service: Market Drayton Golf Club’s head greenkeeper has achieved a remarkable 30 years of service with the club.

Simon Cotterill, who joined the club staff as the 11-hole course was expanding to 18 holes, has greatly influenced its development.

Greenkeeper's 30 years of service

Greenkeeper’s 30 years of service

Market Drayton Golf Course is now recognised as one of the best in the area and can boast a challenging, well-maintained, scenic course that is rarely closed.

During the ongoing development of the course, the club has been mindful of its beautiful natural surroundings, with Cotterill always been a great advocate in this area. He also undertakes extracurricular work on behalf of the club through his role in maintaining the playing areas of a number of local sports facilities.

The club said: “The extraordinary contribution of Cotterill over the years and the superb quality of the course and greens, is testimony to his long-term commitment.

“Simon is a keen angler and the club demonstrated their gratitude for such loyalty by presenting him a significant gift to enhance his enjoyment of his favourite pastime.”

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Johnsons celebrate 200 years

Johnsons celebrate 200 years: The Johnsons Sports Seed team were joined by members of the press and over 30 distributors and customers to toast their 200th anniversary at BTME 2020.

At a special drinks reception that took place on their stand in Harrogate, they celebrated the company’s rich and varied history since it was founded by 17-year old William Wade Johnson in 1820.

Johnsons celebrate 200 years

Reflecting on the event, Amenity Sales and Marketing Manager Derek Smith said, “BTME was a fantastic platform for staff and key contacts to raise a glass to mark such a huge industry milestone. Their drive to raise industry standards reflects the position that Johnsons has in today’s market, and this is very much testament to the passion of those involved with the brand over the years. We at DLF, look forward to continuing that ethos for many years to come.”

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