Flower grower dies after tragic accident

Robin Chappell.  (Photo supplied).
Robin Chappell. (Photo supplied).
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A farmer associated with Spalding’s Flower Parade for more than 30 years has died tragically in an industrial accident at his home.

Robin Chappell, who was 71, suffered head and neck injuries after he became trapped in machinery at Elm Gable Farm, Cowbit Road, on Wednesday.

Emergency services, including an air ambulance, came to the farm at about 1.40pm but Mr Chappell was pronounced dead at the scene.

He leaves behind three children and three grandchildren.

A tribute from the family said: “Dad was a devoted family man and his zest for life was inspiring.

“Dad’s passion was for his work on the farm and he was very committed to growing flowers.

“He had many family members and friends both locally, around the country and abroad, he was always prepared to help, advise and give time to others and Dad will be greatly missed by us and all who knew him.”

Three weeks ago, Mr Chappell’s success in growing about four and a half million daffodils a year was featured on the BBC TV programme Spring’s Supermarket Secrets with Masterchef host Gregg Wallace.

But he was more well-known for providing tulip heads for floats taking part in the flower parade right up to the final event last year.

Kathleen Codd, events manager of Kenyon Communications, said: “It was my privilege to work closely with Robin over the last three years of the parade.

“Quite simply, he could not have been more helpful or supportive of me and the Kenyon Communications team.

“Robin was one of the most genuine, kind and generous people it has been my good fortune to work with and he will be sadly missed.”

David Norton, chief executive of Springfields Horticultural Society, said: “Everyone is deeply shocked and saddened by the news of Robin’s death in such tragic circumstances.

“He was a life-long and enthusiastic supporter of the flower parade, supplying millions of tulip heads over the years for decorating the floats.

“In more recent years, he also provided shed space for float heading and cold storage for the tulip heads when they needed to be harvested early and kept chilled so they would look fresh for Parade Day.

“Only last week, he arranged for this year’s tulip heads to be boxed up and stored ready for the float heading we are doing for the Tulipmania Festival.

“On behalf of Springfields Horticultural Society and all those associated with the parade, I would like to pass on our sincere and deepest sympathies to his family and friends.”

Organisers of this weekend’s Springfields Festival and Tulipmania event have announced that the procession on Saturday will be dedicated to Mr Chappell.

Adrian Jansen, director of Lingarden Bulbs Ltd of Pinchbeck, said: “I worked with Robin for over 30 years on the Spalding Flower Parade and he really was a kingpin of the backroom boys.

“Always shying away from the limelight, he worked tirelessly behind the scenes and was always the first to arrive when it came to float moving time.

“Robin would do anything for anybody, always with a genuine willingness to help get the job done.”

Ian Stancer, chairman of NFU Holland (Lincolnshire) branch, said: “I’ve known Robin since my days as a young farmer and he had unbelievable energy.

“He was always a real farming optimist and he loved his work

“Robin worked hard all his life but he was also a really nice guy and it was really sad to hear about his death.

Detectives from Spalding CID, along with the Health and Safety Executive, have launched a joint investigation into the accident and an inquest into Mr Chappell’s death is due to be opened later today.