Godfreys (Sevenoaks) Ltd has decided to sell its professional turf business to fellow dealers Burden Bros Agri Ltd and Farol Ltd by the end of October 2016. Terms are not being disclosed, but the decision by Godfreys’ directors has the full agreement and approval of John Deere Limited, and is supported by the other dealers involved.The deal will mean that the existing Godfreys business currently based at Hailsham in East Sussex will transfer to Burden Bros, and that located at Wokingham in Berkshire will transfer to Farol.Godfreys will continue to trade as a main homeowner dealer from its premises at Otford Road, Sevenoaks in Kent, along with the Tylers garden equipment trade business that was acquired in June 2015. Godfreys will retain its John Deere homeowner dealer franchise at Sevenoaks.The majority of Godfreys staff from the Wokingham and Hailsham branches and those directly involved in the John Deere professional turf business will transfer to the new dealerships. Farol will retain the existing Wokingham premises, while Burden Bros will relocate the Hailsham business to its existing outlets in East Sussex and Kent.“I am extremely proud of what we, as a team at Godfreys, have achieved over the past few years,” says director Peter Bateman. “We have built a strong turf business throughout the south-east of England. In order to continue building on this success, I and my fellow directors believe that it’s necessary to operate as a combined John Deere agricultural and turf dealership, as both Burden Bros Agri and Farol are able to do.“Equally, the Godfreys homeowner and Tylers trade businesses are very much aligned and have many opportunities to develop and grow together. All our homeowner, commercial and trade customers can be confident that this deal will continue to deliver the best possible sales, service and parts support. We believe this decision is the right one for our people and the company as a whole.”
One hundred years of John Deere tractors will be on show at the John Deere 50 Celebration & Heritage Event at Langar near Nottingham on September 24 and 25, 2016, when John Deere Limited publicly celebrates its 50th anniversary in the UK and Ireland.John Deere customers and fans are invited to join the anniversary celebrations by registering their attendance on the John Deere website at www.JohnDeere.co.uk/50years, with a chance to win special 50th anniversary merchandise in a prize draw.As well as trade stands, static machinery exhibits and working demonstrations of tractors and implements, this special free outdoor event will feature activities and entertainment for all the family. These will include archery, laser clay shooting, falconry and skydiving displays, synchronised kite flying and live music. There will also be a range of local food and produce as well as a licensed bar.A parade of 50 vintage, classic and modern John Deere tractors and machinery will start with a 1916 Overtime Model R tractor, belonging to Lincolnshire farm manager Malcolm Robinson. This will also include the iconic 4020 tractor, marking the beginnings of John Deere Limited at Langar in 1966, and represent every decade up to the present day, finishing with John Deere’s new flagship 620hp four-track 9620RX.The Overtime tractor was given credit for helping the World War I effort by putting in many hours of overtime producing food for the war zone and the home front. John Deere’s first step into tractor production worldwide came in 1918 when the US company bought the Overtime’s manufacturer, the Waterloo Gasoline Traction Engine Company in Iowa, who also made the Waterloo Boy. This machine’s simple two-cylinder design became a feature of John Deere tractors for another four decades.Later in the 20th century, John Deere three wheel, high clearance tractors came into East Anglia from America at the end of the Second World War under the Lend-Lease deal. For a short time in the early 1960s, a few dealers sold large John Deere tractors such as the 4010 – the UK’s first 100hp tractor – and 5010. These were imported from the USA by Lundell (Great Britain) Ltd of Edenbridge in Kent, who initially pioneered the use of large horsepower tractors in the UK, and who were bought by John Deere in 1962.John Deere Limited started trading from Langar in January 1966, and the original premises are still in use today as the company’s visitor centre and national parts distribution centre. Of the original dealers who continued with the new company from that date, two are still John Deere dealers today and are owned by the same families – Ben Burgess in Norfolk and L E Tuckwell in Suffolk.In addition to the 4020 tractor, several of the machines that represented the John Deere Limited product line in 1966 will also be at the event, including the first 5010 and 5020 tractors sold in the UK, ploughs, the C10 cultivator and the 530 and 630 combine harvesters.“Aside from the historic two-cylinder John Deere tractors on display, the main focus of the event is to gather together examples of John Deere tractors and machinery sold through John Deere’s UK and Irish dealers from 1966 to 2016,” says heritage event organiser Peter Leech.“At the moment we have registered tractors for every decade from the 1940s, but we would still love to hear from anyone with more recent machines, especially classic models from the 1980s and 1990s – even up to the modern 30 Series tractors. It’s an event for everyone, so tractors of all ages are welcome.”Owners of old and new John Deere machines who would like to attend the event should submit an application form, downloadable from www.JohnDeere.co.uk/50years. The website also features more details of the history of John Deere Limited in the UK and Ireland, together with a timeline of key dates.
John Deere’s long serving eastern counties dealership Ben Burgess & Co Ltd will be taking over the trading area currently managed by A J & R Scambler & Sons Ltd of Bourn in Cambridgeshire, with effect from 1st November 2016. After nearly 25 years as a John Deere dealership, Scamblers will be looking to continue working with other manufacturers in the grounds care market.With its headquarters in Norwich and an additional five agricultural and turf outlets in Cambridgeshire, Norfolk and Suffolk, Ben Burgess has held the John Deere franchise for 50 years and has been an established grounds care provider since 1962.The dealership had previously expanded its grounds care business into the Peterborough area at the beginning of 2016, operating from its depot in Coates, Cambridgeshire. Customers in the new sales area, which covers parts of Cambridgeshire and Lincolnshire, will be supported initially from the Ben Burgess Coates and Newmarket depots.Paul Thomas will be moving from domestic to commercial equipment sales to work alongside Chris Pateman in the new area. Ben Burgess will also be looking to appoint a new domestic sales person as well as additional sub-dealers to support sales and service of John Deere’s full professional and domestic turf equipment range across the area.“We look forward to working with new customers and developing the relationships already in place,” says Ben B Turner of Ben Burgess GroundsCare. “We will also be adding further parts and service resources in order to ensure our new customers are fully looked after, alongside Paul joining the commercial sales team.”John Deere Limited turf division sales manager Chris Meacock adds: “We would like to put on record our thanks to Tony Scambler and his team for their partnership with John Deere over the past two and a half decades. Ben Burgess is one of our longest serving turf dealers and we are confident that the dealership will continue to provide the highest possible standards of customer support to existing and new customers.”