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NI gardens guru Trevor is granted Freedom of London

By Linda Stewart

Published 05/04/2016

Trevor Edwards and his wife Barbara with the award
Trevor Edwards and his wife Barbara with the award

A Northern Irish gardening expert is now entitled to herd sheep across London bridge - after being awarded the freedom of the city.

Garden designer Trevor Edwards from Co Down received the Freedom of the City of London on April 1 in a ceremony performed at the city's Guildhall.

But that is not all. Later this week he will be made a Liveryman of the Worshipful Company of Gardeners, one of the historic London guilds.

Trevor was invited to become a member of the guild several years ago after managing one of their international garden tours to Amsterdam and Rotterdam - and that honour has led on to him becoming a freeman of the city.

"When you become a member of the company, you can then progress to a higher level of membership, but to become a liveryman you must have been granted the Freedom of the City of London," he said.

On Friday, he was greeted by the Beadle of the Chamberlain's Court at the Guildhall before being formally presented to the clerk of the Chamberlain's Court.

Trevor then was invited to read the Declaration of a Freeman and sign the Freeman's Declaration Book.

The honour means that Trevor is entitled to drive sheep over London Bridge - and he plans to take up this historic right.

The sheep-driving event takes place in September, with freemen herding the animals in relays.

"Another one which is slightly amazing is that you can't be arrested for being drunk within the city limits," Trevor said.

"I don't intend to use that privilege, but it's quite amazing that it's one of them."

Trevor will also be able to take part in the Lord Mayor's Parade, which was recently joined by the ceremonial coach of Dublin's Lord Mayor for the first time ever.

Trevor says he hopes to use the honour to help build connections between London and Northern Ireland, particularly in the gardening world.

For a number of years, he has been involved in organising garden tours in Ireland and further afield, with plans for events in New Zealand and the French Riviera this year.

He works closely with a number of international tour operators to create and manage garden tours to Ireland.

Trevor hopes that by developing his contacts in London and further afield he will be able to encourage increased visitor numbers to Ireland, with a particular focus on garden tourism.

The garden guru's tours have brought visitors from Canada and the US to horticultural hotspots such as Mount Stewart and Castlewellan Arboretum, among others.

"My ambition is to put Ireland as an island on the international garden tourism map," he said.

"You can see the whole London-based thing supporting all of that.

"I've been involved with a group which is trying to form a gardens of Ireland trust promoting garden tourism, although this is in its infancy."

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