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140-year-old charity expected to close due to pension deficit

12 Jul 2017 News

A 140-year-old charity is expected to close after failing to address the financial ramifications of its pension deficit, according to a statement issued today by the administrators.

After failing to find potential investors to allow it to continue to trade, The Royal National Rose Society appointed administrators Stephen Goderski and Peter Hart of PKF Geoffrey Martin & Co in May.

Goderski said today that the administrators' role was to preserve the charity as a going concern, but has now admitted this is “increasingly unlikely”.

He said: “This is a very sad situation in which the society’s trustees, who have devoted a significant portion of their lives to promoting the society, have been unable to address the ramifications of a pension deficit.

“The Society sought potential investors to enable it to continue to trade; however, was unsuccessful in this regard. In situations like this, it makes sense to take professional advice at an earlier stage and this should be seen as a salutary lesson to all trustees and directors facing a similar situation," he said.

“Our priority as joint administrators is to preserve the society as a going concern although this is looking increasingly unlikely.  The society’s gardens are presently closed and will almost certainly not reopen this summer.”

Details of the charity's "large deficit" were not provided in its latest annual accounts, for the year ending December 2015, but the administrators estimate it to be about £1.2m.

Founded in 1876, the charity is the world’s oldest specialist plant society and is based at the Gardens of the Rose near St Albans in Hertfordshire. The site is next to the former Butterfly World sanctuary, which closed in 2015 after failing to attract enough visitors to make a profit.

The charity’s work includes classifying new types and growing rare breeds of the flower, with the aim of creating a “living dictionary” of roses.

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