OBITUARY: Family tribute to Claire Simpson, a director of Elgood’s Brewery, who died after short illness

Tributes to Claire Simspon, a director of Elgoods, who has died. For many years she has overseen wor

Tributes to Claire Simspon, a director of Elgoods, who has died. For many years she has overseen work on the brewery gardens in Wisbech. Picture; ARCHANT - Credit: Archant

The family of a Wisbech woman who was a director of Elgood’s Brewery has paid tribute after she died following a “bravely fought” short illness.

Claire Simpson, who was born in the town on July 18, 1966, was the middle of three daughters and educated at Miss Lilley’s Junior School.

She then went on to study at St Audrey’s Convent and then Felixstowe College.

She left school at 16 because the college was unable to provide botany classes, which was all she wanted to do.

The headmistress’ idea of a part-time job in the town didn’t go down well with her parents.

She left and went to Cambridge to do a secretarial course where she found she was able to study for a botany A-Level (in one year) with an inspirational teacher, Keith Lawn. Most of the year was spent in the Cambridge Botanic Garden.

After this, she started her career and completed a three-year course at Askham Bryan Horticultural College in York, with the middle year divided between Leicester University Botanic Garden and Brighton Parks Department.

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Following this, she spent a year at Chelsea Physic Garden, studying garden design. She set up a business in London with Sarah Knox and spent several years designing and building both large and small gardens in London, including roof gardens. It was during this time that she met and married Mark Simpson.

She designed and planted many gardens in Cambridgeshire, Norfolk, Lincolnshire and Suffolk, including participation in hospital and supermarket car park environmental enhancement schemes.

The garden at the North Brink brewery was her first major project and she continued to oversee the planting throughout the 25 years since it started, helped on a regular basis by her husband and their twin boys, Jake and Daniel.

She was recently elected a director of the Wisbech & Fenland Museum and was instrumental in helping to raise funds for many local charities.

She was a director of Elgood & Sons Ltd.