1934 – 2018
Our long standing Secretary Peter Cushion died unexpectedly from a heart attack on 29th December 2018 aged 84. He did an enormous amount for the Horticultural Society and will be very much missed, not only by us, but by his wife Beryl and their two daughters Susie and Mary. He and Beryl had just celebrated their Golden Wedding Anniversary.
Peter was born in Bournemouth in 1934 and despite the fact that his father was a classics teacher, showed early promise as an engineer. Such was his ability that the Royal Navy sent him to Selwyn College, Cambridge from which he graduated as an Electrical Engineer. He stayed in the Fleet Air Arm until 1975 and retired as a Lieutenant Commander.
It was whilst in the Fleet Air Arm that he met and married Beryl who was a Wren Radio Officer. They married in 1968 and soon after they sailed a trimaran, that Peter had built from scratch, from Lee on Solent to the Isle of Wight. On the return journey they were being swept towards the Needles but fortunately a passing launch towed them back to port.
Peter retired from the Navy in 1975, got a job with Marconi in Stanmore, and moved to Links Drive in Radlett. There he set about converting a very unpromising piece of ground into a very productive garden and for the next 34 years they were almost self sufficient in fruit and veg. Beryl recently worked out that they have harvested no less than 5.26 tons of vegetables in that time. Add the fruit and the total becomes 11.36 tons or an average of one and a half pounds per day. Extraordinary!
In 1975 he was told by several local gardeners that carrots could not be grown in Radlett so he set about proving them wrong. He made large holes in the ground with a huge metal spike and a seven pound sledgehammer. These he filled with the contents of last year’s growbags and then half a dozen carrot seeds. These were gradually thinned to one and the last one had no choice but to grow straight and true. He was so successful that he won no less than twenty first prizes in the Autumn Show.
He became Secretary of the Society in 2001 and was superb at the job. Aside from organising all our meetings and dealing with most of the correspondence he did a host of other jobs. He collated all the publications and sent them out to the distributors, put up posters all over Radlett, started and maintained our website, kept all the archives, printed tickets for the walkabout and I suspect a lot of other things we didn’t even know about. It is no exaggeration to say that the smooth running of the Society over the last twenty years was largely down to him. More recently he was grappling (successfully) with the complexities of GDPR*. I think we will all especially remember his regular reports of his battles with mice in the store – he was an ace mouse catcher. Thank you for everything Peter – we will miss you.
* General Data Protection Regulation