The Rolling Stones show they care

THEY may be hardened rockers used to life as international stars but it seems legendary rock super group The Rolling Stones are really softies at heart.

THEY may be hardened rockers used to life as international stars but it seems legendary rock super group The Rolling Stones are really softies at heart.

The ageing musicians have shown they care by sending flowers to a sick friend in Ipswich Hospital.

Mick Jagger and the boys sent the get well wishes to the mystery patient via Bedwells Florists, a family run business in Ipswich's Northgate Street.

In 40 years in the business, co-owner Ann Burtenshaw has seen more than a few messages from the rich and famous but the kind words from The Stones had the family pinching themselves.

Mrs Burtenshaw, 58, said: “The Rolling Stones ordered orchid plants.

“The order included a kind message saying 'Glad to know you are better. Fondest regards.' and had Mick, Keith, Charlie, Ronnie and Bill's names on it. I thought it was really nice of them.”

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The purchase has proved to be the icing on the cake in 60 years in business for the family and will be a major topic of conversation when staff past and present gather to mark the anniversary in March.

Today Mrs Burtenshaw couldn't reveal the price of the orchids but said that the order cost well above their minimum arrangement prices but did not quite reach the maximum.

She said after having customers such as snooker player Steve Davis and popular 1970s band Dr Hook and taking orders for Regent panto stars Brian Blessed and Kirsten O'Brien this Christmas, she could normally spot when orders came through from the more famous clients.

A spokesman for the band's record label, EMI Records, today confirmed the flowers were sent by the band but declined to reveal any details about who they were for.

The flowers were dispatched through Bedwells because they are one of the 1,700 UK members of Interflora, which allows orders to be placed all over the world and then sees them passed on to local florists.

The Stones' agent had placed an order in Richmond, Surrey, which was then picked up by Bedwells and sent on to the recipient.

Their kind gesture is just one in a long line of highlights for the business which will be remembered at the 60th anniversary celebrations.

Mrs Burtenshaw is looking for anyone who worked for Bedwells over the years to join the family in marking the anniversary.

She said: “I have loved working here over the years - it's a really interesting job putting together flower and plant arrangements for people.

“I would really like to celebrate with the people who have helped make this business grow.”

Over the years Bedwells has employed a long list of full and part-time staff and Mrs Burtenshaw said: “If you count all the Saturday and part-time girls and drivers I don't know how many there must have been.

“We've found some of them ourselves but there's a few of them who we don't know where they are.”

The anniversary party will be held at the Conservative Club in Kirby Road. Anyone who worked at the shop over the years can contact Mrs Burtenshaw on 01473 251133.


BEDWELLS Florists first opened in Woodbridge Road when Joyce and Douglas Bedwell returned to Ipswich after living away from the town during the Second World War.

Joyce had learned flower arranging and Douglas was originally from Ipswich so after the war it seemed the perfect future for them.

Their daughter Ann Burtenshaw was born in the family home which also housed the Woodbridge Road florists shop.

When the business grew, a new shop in St Matthews Street was opened where the Iceland food store now stands.

Later that shop closed and the Northgate Street shop opened. Twenty years ago the Woodbridge Road shop was closed and the Northgate Street shop has remained as the home of Bedwells.

The business is now run by four generations of the Bedwell family - Ann and husband Alan, Joyce, her daughter Samantha Pisatura and her eldest granddaughter Charlotte Mysinger.