Birthday celebration at Ottery garden centre for green-fingered Lionel

Lionel Smith with his wife Barbara at the garden centre. Picture: Sue Cade and Tony Seculer

Lionel Smith with his wife Barbara at the garden centre. Picture: Sue Cade and Tony Seculer - Credit: Archant

A man has celebrated his 95th birthday at an Ottery St Mary garden centre in his first outing since the beginning of lockdown.

Lionel Smith at Otter Garden Centre with his birthday card from the managers and staff.Picture: Sue

Lionel Smith at Otter Garden Centre with his birthday card from the managers and staff.Picture: Sue Cade and Tony Seculer - Credit: Archant

Keen gardener Lionel Smith has been a customer of the Otter Garden Centre for many years.

On his birthday, Tuesday, June 10, he travelled there from his home in Tiverton with his wife Barbara, and was joined by his daughter and son in law, Jenny and Tony Seculer, who had driven from Berkshire.

Staff had put out a red carpet, a banner and balloons for him, and he was presented with a birthday cake and a card signed by the centre’s founders, Marilyn and Malcolm White, and many members of the team.

Managing director Jacqui Taylor wished him a happy birthday, and he chose plants and garden essentials as his presents from his family.

Lionel Smith at the garden centre. Picture: Sue Cade and Tony Seculer

Lionel Smith at the garden centre. Picture: Sue Cade and Tony Seculer - Credit: Archant


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Tony Seculer said: “Lionel has such a love of gardening and passed that to Jenny, who took a degree in horticulture.

“When they got to selecting plants, it was like watching two children in a sweetshop.”

The red carpet and birthday decorations at Otter Garden Centre. Picture; Sue Cade and Tony Seculer

The red carpet and birthday decorations at Otter Garden Centre. Picture; Sue Cade and Tony Seculer - Credit: Archant

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