The Garden Centre Association (GCA) Trust recently (April, 2019) selected Emma Lamb from Barton Grange Garden Centre and Sam Clark from Cowell's Garden Centre to attend this year's International Garden Centre Association (IGCA) Congress.
The two candidates will receive a sponsored place at the IGCA Congress in September as part of the Dick Allen Scholarship Award Scheme.
Sue Allen, Trust Chairman, said: "This is the fourth year we have sponsored GCA member centre staff to attend the IGCA and we're delighted to announce Emma and Sam as the two lucky candidates.
"The pair will experience this unique event in the company of like-minded potential managers and spend their time visiting top garden centres, other retailers and historic gardens. They will even have time to visit the Bombay Sapphire Gin distillery, the London Eye and take a cruise on the Thames. Throughout the week they will be discussing issues that affect our industry, forming firm friendships and making important contacts.
"The Trust were thrilled with the calibre of applicants this year and it was a very tricky decision to make, but we'd like to congratulate Emma and Sam and we hope they thoroughly enjoy their trip later this year."
The pair will join 250 delegates from around the world at this year's IGCA Congress, which will be held in Windsor in the UK from September 1 until 7.
Emma, who works in Senior Sales in the outside plant area at Barton Grange Garden Centre, said: "To be selected for this very exciting opportunity gives me personally a second gear in motivation. I am grateful for all the support and development opportunities that arise through the GCA and this is seen as the icing on the cake.
"From Barton Grange and my working team, the encouragement I receive is immense and I am very proud to be representing them this year. The IGCA is an excellent time to learn from others and to ignite ideas and inspiration, I cannot wait."
Emma joined Barton Grange Garden Centre in 2017 after studying Horticulture at Lancaster University.
Will Clark, Plant Area Manager at Barton Grange Garden Centre, said: "I am delighted and very proud that Emma is going to be part of this year's IGCA. She truly is a star at Barton Grange and I'm really enjoying seeing her career blossom.
"Her passion and enthusiasm is so infectious I'm sure she will be a great addition to the interactive tour. I can't wait to hear all about it when she returns."
Delegates on this year's trip will be based at The Castle Hotel and The Macdonald Windsor Hotel, both centrally-located on the High Street in the historic town of Windsor.
Sam, who works as a Plant Area Supervisor at Cowell's Garden Centre, said: "I would like to thank Sue and all the members of the GCA Trust who have given me this wonderful opportunity. I'm tremendously excited to visit some wonderful southern centres and also the wonderful RHS Gardens, September can't come soon enough!"
Sam has always had an interest in horticulture, since he helped his nan in the garden as a child. He began working at Cowell's Garden Centre in 2008 on the checkouts and went on to work in the plant area.
Martin Cowell, Director at Cowell's Garden Centre, said: "I'm thrilled that Sam has been awarded this prestigious place at this year's IGCA, it will be a wonderful opportunity for him to continue his growth."
The object of the GCA Trust is to advance among the general public and, in particular among horticultural students, education in horticulture, and particularly garden centres, by the provision and administration of scholarships and bursaries, including prizes to foster such education.
The Trust also aims to assist horticultural students to study, research into and gain experience of horticulture.
For further information, please call 01244 952170. Alternatively, please visit www.gca.org.uk, log on to www.facebook.com/pages/GardenCentreAssociation or follow the organisation on Twitter at www.twitter.com/GC_Association.