The Welney Website
page created January 2007, amended/updated
Saturday, 31 July 2010
||news and views
||sports and social
The Cambs Times and Wisbech Standard newspapers used to have a regular weekly feature entitled "Getting to know you" in which people who
were prominent in their local community were asked to respond to a series of questions.
And what better subject to feature here was their choice for the 5th January 2007 issue - a modest man who not only runs a very successful business here in
Welney but who has also done so much to enhance the social life of Welney over such a long period.
In answer to question 3 he could have added that he was also very heavily involved with the highly successful Welney Gala 2004, nearly 40 years after the original Galas.
I am grateful to the Cambs Times for permission to post this item on the Welney website.
"1 Who are you?
Roger Giles, originally from Kent but, for the past 48
2 What do you do?
I own Giles Landscapes which has been in business for nearly
30 years designing and building commercial and private landscapes and
gardens. Worked on various local high profile projects such as Greyfriars
Tower, King's Lynn; Cambridge park and ride; Granta Park; Gunpowder Park and
the Chelsea Flower Show.
3 Why would people know you?
I was chairman of Welney Galas in the 60s and 70s and
chairman of Welney skating committee which aims to keep this famous Fen
heritage alive. A frequent misconception is that I am an accomplished speed
skater. This is in fact my son Adam who appeared on 'Ice Warriors', the ice
equivalent of 'Gladiators' and is a British gold medal cyclist. People may
also know of me from our successes at Chelsea Flower Show. Our 2004 Wildlife
Trust garden won the BBC People's Choice Award and a silver medal. Our 2005
entry our Wildlife Trust Lush garden was also awarded a silver medal and
came second in The BBC People's Choice Award.
4 On a scale of 1-10 (10 being the highest) how do you rate
your sense of humour?
8 out of 10 (on a good day)
5 What was your last text message you sent or received?
That would be telling!
6 Give us at least five pet hates
People who take advantage of disadvantaged people,
negativity about the fens, negativity about Britain, apathy, bitterness.
7 Is it time for Britain to abolish the Royal Family?
No. I feel it is part of our heritage that sets us apart
from other countries but I do think it needs modernising a bit. We have
worked on the Sandringham estate landscaping the caravan park where the Duke
of Edinburgh said it looked more like a tubbex convention than a country
park. However, he did understand that we had to protect the plants from his
8 Are you looking forward to the smoking ban in pubs and why?
Definitely. One of my best friends died of lung cancer at a
very young age. We do have some power to reduce cancer's effects by not
9 What is the favourite item of clothing in your wardrobe,
I have always been a fan of Bruce Forsyth and wanted a shirt
like he wears on Come Dancing. I got a fancy blue striped one that I will
probably wear forever.
10 Where is the capital of the Fens and why?
To me it is Wisbech. In the 50s when I moved to the area,
Wisbech had a proud history. As you came into the town it had a prosperous
feel and there was a feeling you could make a living out of five acres of
land with strawberries and soft fruit.
11 Which TV programme sends you to the off button?
12 If you had £1,000 to blow what would you do with it?
Go to Vegas. All the old dancers of the 60s seem to be
playing out their last flings there.
13 What football result do you look for first and why?
Newcastle. Shearer was the man. He was boisterous but not
without a certain style.
14 Name a town or country you would never want to return to,
and your reasons
I have been on many cancellation holidays where the exact
destination is unknown but always liked it. I did have a bad experience in
Phuket though. First of all my step daughter picked me up from the airport
on a motorcycle which put the fear of God in me as there seems to be no
highway code out there. I then caught a virus which I thought was some
foreign plague and was convinced I was going die. But I recovered and
enjoyed the rest of the trip.
15 Who would you most like to sit next to on an aeroplane and
At the moment we are in desperate need of sponsorship for
this year's Chelsea Flower Show so I would have to say any managing director
of any big company.
16 Who would you cross the road to avoid?
There is no-one I dislike enough to do that.
17 What is the worst job you have ever had to do?
When I was a sheep farmer things were so bad I would get up
at 5am to look after the sheep then box up celery in the field for £10 a
18 Who was you childhood hero and why?
Alan Ladd. I used to watch him at the ABC minors Saturday
cinema and loved the way he beat all the villains who picked on him.
19 If you weren't doing your current job, what else might you
It would have to be sheep shearing - it's very physical so
maybe I wouldn't be up to it now so perhaps a dance host on a cruise liner.
20 Your claim to fame?
Having our Chelsea gardens on international television.
21 What's your biggest regret in life?
Opportunities that have passed me. Knowing what I know now I
would have taken them - but that's life! Also I didn't always understand
other people's problems as I should have done in my younger days."
Left, Roger skating on Welney Washes, early 2000s
below as a milkmaid in a Welney Gala in the 1970s
(all photos on this page from the Website archives)
|Related pages on this website|
|Welney Galas 1960s-70s |
|Welney Skating Club|
|Other websites (new windows)|
|back to top of page
||back to the lives and stories of the people of welney
||any comments? please e-mail webmaster