Date: Monday 7 October

Time: 10:15am - 3:30pm

Ticket application closing date: Wednesday 28 August

Location: Dorking Halls


PLANT hunter/horticulturalist Tom Hart Dyke and former Blue Peter and Sky Sports presenter Simon Thomas are the keynote speakers at this autumn’s Federation meeting.

Tom is the 20th generation of his family to live at Lullingstone Castle near Sevenoaks, Kent, since it was built in 1497. It is also home to his World Garden of Plants, conceived during what he believed was his last day on earth, after being told to prepare to be shot by warring guerrillas who kidnapped him and his partner while they were hunting for orchids in the Colombian jungle.

Given up for dead, they were held for nine months before being released. Back home, Tom set about creating his World Garden as a tribute to all the plant hunters who collected the plants we now take for granted.

Simon gave up his job as a Sky Sports presenter to look after his eight-year old son Ethan when his beloved wife Gemma died two years ago — just four days after being diagnosed with acute myeloid leukaemia. He poured out his feelings in a book, Love Interrupted: Navigating Grief One Day at a Time, published last month. Simon will be signing copies of his book at the meeting.

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