MBE for renowned Suffolk naturalist Bernard Tickner, 93

Bernard Tickner receives his MBE for his contributions to gardening. Picture: GREGG BROWN

Bernard Tickner receives his MBE for his contributions to gardening. Picture: GREGG BROWN

A Suffolk gardener, brewer and founding father of a nature reserve in the county has been honoured for his dedication to horticulture.

Bernard Tickner proudly wearing his MBE. Picture: GREGG BROWN

Bernard Tickner proudly wearing his MBE. Picture: GREGG BROWN

Bernard Tickner, 93, was presented with a Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE) medal yesterday by the Lord Lieutenant of Suffolk, Clare, Countess of Euston during a special gathering of friends and colleagues.

The presentation, which honoured Mr Tickner’s services to horticulture and wildlife conservation, was held at Fullers Mill, the stunning garden that he created around his house in the West Stow forest.

Mr Tickner, who grew up in Hadleigh, started on the garden in 1958 when, by his own admission, it was rather “rough”. Since then, learning from dozens of books as he went along, Mr Tickner managed to create an enchanting and tranquil waterside and woodland garden, situated on the banks of the River Lark.

The devoted horticulturist was also the instigator of the Lackford Lakes nature reserve, which is at the doorstep of his gardens.

Lord Lieutenant of Suffolk, Clare, Countess of Euston pictured with Bernard Tickner. Picture: GREGG

Lord Lieutenant of Suffolk, Clare, Countess of Euston pictured with Bernard Tickner. Picture: GREGG BROWN

Last weekend, as reported in the EADT, Mr Tickner celebrated the reserve’s 30th birthday by donating £65,000 to the Suffolk Wildlife Trust’s appeal to extend the site.

Mr Tickner, who joined the trust when as soon as it was formed, and is currently its vice president, had already made a separate donation of £35,000 to the charity’s appeal. In total it has received around £178,000, just shy of the £200,000 needed to buy an extra 77 acres of land for the reserve.

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The site was once used for aggregate excavations but has been transformed in to a wildlife-rich mosaic of habitats.

Mr Tickner, who is also a former head brewer at Greene King, in Bury St Edmunds, where he came up with the recipe for Abbot Ale, was first told he was to receive the award in the Queen’s Birthday Honours list, earlier this year.

Bernard Tickner's garden. Picture: GREGG BROWN

Bernard Tickner's garden. Picture: GREGG BROWN

Speaking at the time, he said: “It’s 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.”

He has published his own memoirs, titled, A Scratch in the Soil, which came out in June.

To find out more about the garden, go to www.fullersmillgarden.org.uk or visit www.suffolkwildlifetrust.org to donate to the appeal.

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