09 May 2013 By Billy Hawkins
Paul Hewitt, build manager of the Chelsea Alitex stand (MA10) reports that all seems to be “not just on target, but ahead of schedule”. I’m really hoping that by saying this out loud we don’t suddenly encounter a problem – but so far, so good and Derek, the Alitex gnome seems to be keeping out of mischief.
Paul is satisfied that things are running smoothly with the help of the Deacon Brothers and labourers John, Mike and Sam. From Alitex we have Ben, Alan, Leo and Adam who are bringing their considerable expertise to bear in assembling both greenhouses we will be displaying this year – our 50th at the show. In fact in a year of celebrations, Chelsea have their 100th anniversary and Alitex have their 60th birthday – it’s a year of cake and candle blowing!
Day seven (today) reveals a show site of huge activity; everyone is busy with a job to do within a certain time frame. Perhaps because of the strict traffic rules, access is good in and out of the site – no vehicles can be on site for longer than an hour, and yes, that does include the massive yellow ones with JCB written on them.
We expect all the structures to be up by Friday of this week and then the builders will move onto making the planters, painting the walls, establishing signage – making it an Alitex stand.
By Thursday of next week we hope to be in a position to welcome our friends from Thrive onto the site, plus Taylor Tripp and all the plants we have from Hortis Loci. There will then be a concerted effort to get the stand ship shape for Sunday.
Paul Hewitt is in his tenth year of building the Chelsea stand and has overseen (with Nelly Hall) many of the eight sundries awards we have won over the years. As a trade stand we cannot win gold medals, but the sundries award reflects the hard work and planning which goes into our stand each year, so of course, we love winning one. Fingers crossed for this year.
To follow the team's progress we are onTwitter (@Alitex) and do come and visit us at MA10 – that’s Main Avenue, opposite the Laurent Perrier garden.