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Tribute paid to Spalding man who helped to build South Holland's bulb industry and Spalding Tulip Parade

Tribute has been paid to a man who helped to build South Holland’s successful bulb industry and bring thousands to Spalding for the tulip parade.

Rob Teeuw was born in Spalding but spent his early years in Occupied Holland and was forever grateful to the RAF for dropping life-saving food packages.

Mr Teeuw, who played an important role both nationally and internationally in the horticultural industry, has sadly died at the age of 84 on December 16.

Tribute has been paid to Rob Teeuw, who played an important role in the horticultural industry and Spalding Flower Parade (43655877)
Tribute has been paid to Rob Teeuw, who played an important role in the horticultural industry and Spalding Flower Parade (43655877)

His daughter Jackie Bailey-Scott said: “He was a cheeky chap with a twinkle in his eye. Dad was a larger than life character.”

Mr Teeuw’s parents Gerit and Antje moved to Spalding from Holland in 1935 to start a company to sell bulbs and a year later Rob was born in Pinchbeck Road.

When the Second World War broke out, the family moved back to Holland where they experienced great hardships.

Rob Teeuw with the Queen (43655875)
Rob Teeuw with the Queen (43655875)

Mrs Bailey-Scott said: “The Dutch were starving and dad and his family had to eat flower bulbs to survive. He was even shot at by the Germans.”

In 1948, the family returned to South Holland.

Mr Teeuw attended The Gleed Boys School before later joining his father in the bulb trade and they went onto form Gee Tee Bulbs in Matmore Gate.

Prior to spending his national service in the RAF where he was a cook for the officer’s mess, Mr Teeuw met his future wife Janet at Spalding Swimming Pool where he would play water polo.

The couple were married on July 9, 1959, in the Congregational Chapel, Spalding, and went onto have two children Jackie and Richard.

Mr Teeuw went onto become Chairman of the British Bulb Exporters and British Bulb Council along with The Bulb Distributors Association, which he represented in Brussels.

During the early 1980s Mr Teeuw, who also bought Abbey Print, became Chairman of Spalding Flower Parade.

He also had the honour of meeting The Queen Mother when she visited Springfields in April 1986.

Along with Peter Atkinson, Mr Teeuw also helped to represent the district at the Queen’s 1986 birthday celebrations. South Holland had sent a float and 150,000 daffodils which were carried by children in a procession.

He had been awarded the Carlo Naef Trophy to recognise his outstanding contribution to the bulb industry in 1998.

Mr Teeuw, who was diagnosed with Parkinson’s in 2009 and dementia in 2014, did not retire until he was in his 70s.

He was also heavily involved in Spalding Golf Club, where he was captain and president.

Tribute has also been paid by David Norton, Chief Executive of Springfields Horticultural Society.

Mr Norton said: “Rob did an awful lot to raise the profile of British bulbs grown in this area through Gee Tee Bulbs. We are going to miss him as a friend and associate. We are going to create a memorial at the gardens which will recognise him as a founder and a long term supporter.”

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