A CHESTER man has traded guns for roses after beginning a new career as a florist.
Former RAF flight sergeant Steve Bevan decided to hang up his uniform for good last month after more than 30 years service to open up his own floristry business.
Steve, 47, who spent his childhood years at the family home in Blacon, decided to call time on his flying career, which has taken him around the world, to open up his new venture, Flowerwise, in the Surrey town of Epsom Downs.
Steve, who speaks Arabic and Pashto – a language spoken both in Afghanistan and Pakistan – used to fly in a high-tech Nimrod over Afghanistan listening in on the radio communications of al-Qa’eda and the Taliban.
Deciding against an offer to extend his career in the RAF and train on the aircraft to the aircraft replacing the decommissioned Nimrods, Steve retrained as a florist and decided to take the plunge and open up his own store.
Steve, who moved to Wrexham as a youngster before joining the RAF in 1983 at the age of 17, said: “I made a decision that after 30 years I wanted a change.
“I also wanted a small business as a challenge which is what I’m trying
I was faced with either travelling up and down the motorway and being away from my wife or starting afresh and trying my luck at a new venture.
“I identified a business that I could get into, went to floristry classes and now, here we are. It’s been going well so far and, fingers crossed, will continue.”
Steve, who has notched-up more than 2,000 hours in the air, had been in RAF communications in Holland, Germany, Gibraltar and Northern Ireland during the Troubles and also spent time as a maritime warfare specialist as part of a squadron based in Scotland.
He said he has learned a lot about flowers since a year ago when he didn’t know a hydrangea from a rose.
“It’s been a very steep learning curve, but I know most of the flowers now,” said Steve, who employs three staff at his shop.
“My favourite flower is a lisianthus. I just like the colours of them, the purples and blues.
“It is totally removed from what I have been doing to so many years but I am really enjoying the whole experience so far. We had a successful Christmas, and even delivered a Christmas wreath to the home of Michael Caine.
“It is still early days for us but the signs are good and hopefully we can keep growing.”