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101-year-old Whitehall Garden Centre boss is honored by the Queen

Published: 14 November 2008
The country's oldest boss Phyllis Self, of Lacock in Wiltshire, became a Member of the British Empire this week.
101-year-old Whitehall Garden Centre boss is honored by the Queen
Mrs Self was presented with the award on Tuesday, November 11 at Windsor Castle by the Queen.

The occasion also meant a rare day off work for the lady who with her late husband Rowland established Whitehall Garden Centre aged 61 when most people her age were retiring ... and then worked on for another four decades.

Mrs Self, who received her MBE for services to the community in Lacock, saw the opportunity to start a garden centre in 1968 when the construction of the A350 from Chippenham to Poole split the family farm, Whitehall Farm, in two.

The committed business woman has always supported local charities through the firm, the work that won her the MBE, and still works as company secretary and head of personnel.

She said: "I never thought I'd be given this honour and that I'd meet the Queen.

"Lots of things have happened in the past 12 months since I turned 100. But life doesn't seem any different to me now I am 101 than it was when I was 99.

"It's the first time I've met her and I can remember when she was born. She's looking well for an 82-year-old."

Now the business employs 180 workers and runs a second site in Whitchurch in Bristol also called Whitehall Garden Centre.

Three generations of the family now work in the business Mrs Self, her son chairman Christopher Self a 70-year-old and her grandsons managing director, Peter Self and director, Mark Self.

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