Market garden company boss had fond memories of meeting Her Majesty during his Myerscough College days

After growing up in the family business, it is no surprise that Mick Coxhead is now a company directo.r

By Sonja Astbury
Friday, 15th November 2019, 5:00 pm
Mick Coxhead with the photo  of himself at 17 meeting The Queen
Mick Coxhead with the photo of himself at 17 meeting The Queen

Although he was born the right credentials, Mick's career path was a bit different to the norm. He did well at school but a chance meeting at the family business led him into college.

Mick grew up in the wholesale horticulture business, E.N Coxhead Ltd, where he remains . The company, based at Chainhouse Nurseries, in Whitestake, near Preston, now produces and sells millions of pounds worth of plants and salads.

Aged 17, he was one of the first intake at the new Myerscough College Bilsborrow campus .

He recalls: “I’d grew up in horticulture with the family business, so I’d spent all my life growing. I’d done quite well in my school exams, and Mr Wetton, one of the (college) lecturers, came to our nursery to buy plants and my father knew him, so it went from there.”

Jim adds: “ The campus was brand, spanking new and much of it was still orchards and fields.

“It was a very social thing too, as our class was quite small and everyone was really friendly.

“The campus certainly had that wow factor. The library was fantastic as were the classrooms. It was much smaller than it is nowadays. We also did day release at the Hutton campus. I used to play rugby and football for the college too.

“There was a lot of camaraderie. We had a wonderful time.

“For many of us it was our first time away from home, and as I was one of the youngest in the group, others took me under their wing.”

Although he went on to do well, his company has a multi- million pound turnover, one of his most treasured memories is of meeting Her Majesty The Queen when she officially opened the campus in 1969.

Mick was only 17 and recalls: “We knew about the visit around a month in advance and we needed to sort out the displays for on the day.

“Then, one person from each subject area had to be chosen to meet the Queen and my lecturer put my name forward.

“I demonstrated a xylograph - a wood engraving machine.

“We talked about my studies and it was a very proud moment. It happened so fast and I was very nervous.

“It was a bit of a blur but I was very proud to have met her and it was a wonderful day.

“Only a few of us were selected and I was fortunate.”

Mick says: “I finished my studies and went into the family business. We gradually built the business up and from my college experience, I developed skills that stood me in good stead.

“When I started at college at 17 I was ambitious and being successful in the industry was always my goal. I’’d always worked hard, you have to in this industry. I was lucky as I had a business to go into.

But for students from an ordinary background, getting a qualification is very important to go far within the sector. You need that technical and managerial know-how.’’