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Sir Richard Evans: Flamingo Co-Founder Knighted

Richard 'Dicky' Evans, the co-founder of Flamingo Horticulture, has been honoured with a knighthood by King Charles III in recognition of his significant contributions to business, sports, and charitable efforts in both Kenya and the United Kingdom. This prestigious accolade celebrates Evans' enduring commitment to these sectors over many years.

Evans' journey began after completing his engineering degree at King's College, London. His early career involved teaching local engineers in Uganda to construct UN-funded clean water systems. However, following the 1971 coup d'état by Idi Amin, Evans had to leave Uganda and subsequently arrived in Kenya.

There, he applied his expertise in water irrigation to enhance the quality of fruit, vegetable, and flower cultivation, eventually founding Homegrown in 1982. This venture initially supplied Covent Garden Market with fine beans and strawberries and later expanded to include a wide range of specialty vegetables and flowers.

In 1994, alongside Martin Hudson, Evans established Flamingo Horticulture. The company has since grown and evolved, maintaining its family-like atmosphere despite its significant scale. Evans, proud of this achievement, continues to keep a close eye on the company's progress, regularly communicating with Hudson.

Evans' impact on Kenya's economy has been profound, notably improving the country's balance of payments and creating numerous job opportunities. His influence was such that in 1992, he was appointed chairman of the Export Promotion Council by then Kenyan President Daniel arap Moi. In 1996, Evans was awarded the Order of the Grand Warrior (OGW) by Kenya for his services to agribusiness.

In 2007, Evans sold his interests in Flamingo Horticulture to James Finlays Ltd for succession reasons. He then focused on the Hemingways Collection, a group of luxury hotels and travel businesses, where he remains chairman. His son, Ross Evans, now leads the business as CEO.

Evans' passion for rugby has been a significant part of his life. He played for various teams, including Mounts Bay Colts, Penzance & Newlyn Rugby Football Club, Kings College university team, and Rosslyn Park in London. In Africa, he captained Kenya's international side and a combined East Africa team. His financial support was crucial in the rise of Penzance & Newlyn RFC, now known as The Cornish Pirates, to become a top English rugby team.

Diagnosed with Parkinson's disease in 2010, Evans handed over executive responsibilities for Hemingways to his son in 2021. He was also honoured as a Cornish Bard in 2013 for his contributions to Cornish sport, culture, and heritage.

Evans' philanthropic efforts, often kept private, include funding schools, medical treatments, and supporting disabled or orphaned children in he UK and Kenya. During the Covid pandemic, he protectetd his staff at Hemingways from redundancy, despite the absence of a furlough scheme in Kenya.

This knighthood is a fitting tribute to Evans' remarkable career and his extensive industry contributions to both Kenya and the UK.


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