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Norfolk company which supplied the Queen’s lawn seed goes out of business

Robert Fletcher, who is finishing the Norfolk Seeds grass seed business which has a Royal Warrant, after the death of his father, founder Gordon, two years ago. He is in the garage where they mixed the seed at their home in Fakenham. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

Robert Fletcher, who is finishing the Norfolk Seeds grass seed business which has a Royal Warrant, after the death of his father, founder Gordon, two years ago. He is in the garage where they mixed the seed at their home in Fakenham. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

Copyright: Archant 2018

A Norfolk company which supplied the Royal household at Sandringham for 40 years has gone out of business.

The Royal Warrant for the Norfolk Seeds company to provide grass seed for the Sandringham lawns. Picture: DENISE BRADLEYThe Royal Warrant for the Norfolk Seeds company to provide grass seed for the Sandringham lawns. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

Family-owned Norfolk Seeds was founded by Gordon Fletcher in 1970 in Fakenham, where he and his son Robert mixed seed deliveries for Sandringham on the floor of the family garage.

But since the death of his father 2016, Robert Fletcher said the company had struggled to make it through the lean winter months when demand for its products fell away.

He admitted the firm, which until this year did not have a website, and had traded since its foundation without a computer, had been overtaken by the pace of change in the industry.

“I had tried for the last few months to find someone to take over the business,” he said. “It just needed that little injection of cash to get us through. When it gets to this time of year, I won’t really sell anything again until next March or April.

Norfolk Seeds founder Gordon Fletcher with Prince Charles at the Sandringham Flower Show. Picture: Supplied by Norfolk Seeds.Norfolk Seeds founder Gordon Fletcher with Prince Charles at the Sandringham Flower Show. Picture: Supplied by Norfolk Seeds.

“I would have loved to have kept it going but there are just too many quiet months.”

The company had supplied Sandringham with seed for its lawns and game crops since being awarded the Royal Warrant in 1978, and had clients across Norfolk and beyond.

Gordon Fletcher was also well known as former president of the Sandringham Flower Show, and the family was given permission to hold his funeral at the church on the Queen’s estate after he died in July 2016.

Having worked alongside his father for more than 30 years to build the business’s reputation, Robert Fletcher, 53, said that calling time on it had been “a difficult decision”.

A press cutting from 1979, the year in which Norfolk Seeds was awarded its Royal Warrant. Picture: Supplied by Norfolk Seeds.A press cutting from 1979, the year in which Norfolk Seeds was awarded its Royal Warrant. Picture: Supplied by Norfolk Seeds.

“Dad was so proud of doing so well in the seed trade. I had dad’s good name, but it’s hard to be on your own,” he said.

“A different company with some new ideas could have kept it going, but it needed more than me.”

Insolvency experts from Norwich-based Leading Corporate Recovery were called in in September to liquidate the company. They said creditors were likely to lose out on £90,000 from the company’s failure.

Mr Fletcher is now hoping to use his 33 years of expertise in a new role as a consultant, and hopes to work again with some of his former customers.

A press cutting from 1979, the year in which Norfolk Seeds was awarded its Royal Warrant. Picture: Supplied by Norfolk Seeds.A press cutting from 1979, the year in which Norfolk Seeds was awarded its Royal Warrant. Picture: Supplied by Norfolk Seeds.

Norfolk Seeds founder Gordon Fletcher speaking to the Duchess of Cornwall. Picture: Supplied by Norfolk Seeds.Norfolk Seeds founder Gordon Fletcher speaking to the Duchess of Cornwall. Picture: Supplied by Norfolk Seeds.

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