Plans blossom for Bishop's Stortford club's 60th anniversary celebration
A blooming lovely bunch of floral fanatics are celebrating their club’s diamond anniversary this spring.
The seeds for the Herts and Essex Boundary Flower Club were first sown in 1959 at the group’s inaugural meeting, which took place on Friday, April 3, at the Boar’s Head in Windhill, which is now the Gourmeturk restaurant. Thirty-five budding florists attended the session and, of these, 28 became members.
Beverly Moore, a current member of the boundary flower club, explained: “The aims of the club were five fold; to foster a love of beauty through flowers and plant material; to encourage the study and practice of floral arrangement as a personal art and as part of the home environment; to increase interest in gardening; to increase and develop an appreciation of design and colour in everyday things through the study of floral art and to increase interest in related arts.”
The club’s confidence rapidly blossomed and they staged annual competitive shows in and around Bishop’s Stortford. “These shows were open to the public and proved very popular,” said Beverly. “By the mid-60s, membership had increased to 60; our highest membership has been 113.
“In 1968, the flower club was honoured to be invited to arrange flowers at Bishop’s Stortford College’s centenary celebrations for the visit by HM The Queen Mother.
“Her Majesty arrived by helicopter looking radiant in turquoise. Flower arrangements had been placed in the library, the memorial hall and the headmaster house where a luncheon was served.”
The club continued to spread joy around the town into the 1970s. They created arrangements to cheer up patients in the Herts & Essex Hospital. Beverly said: “Floral arrangements were placed in the chapel and outside the maternity ward and up to 70 arranged vases of flowers for just one ward was a regular occurrence for the flower rota team.”
The club has also supported an abundance of local charities over the decades. They have given their floral arrangements to the Meals on Wheels service to be distributed to lonely people at Christmas, and they have also made donations to Herts & Essex Hospital’s cancer scanner appeal, Essex & Herts Air Ambulance Service, Riding for the Disabled Association and Saffron Walden-based The Teddy Charity.
In 1977, the National Association of Flower Arrangement Societies (NAFAS) suggested groups all over the country should create floral arrangements to be placed in churches to commemorate Queen Elizabeth II’s Silver Jubilee. “The club was proud to place nine arrangements in churches in Bishop’s Stortford and the surrounding area,” said Beverly.
In addition to local competitions, members from the club have competed in various NAFAS national shows and risen to the challenge.
The competition in 1989 was held in Brighton and Jean Crane and Gill Romanowski – representing the Herts and Essex club – won first place. They were given the Constance Spry Cup for their exhibit entitled Treasure Seekers.
In 1996, another of the club’s members, Anne Stroud, was also awarded first place at the Nottingham show, for her piece, Island of Dreams.
The club has also regularly entered exhibits at the prestigious RHS Chelsea Flower Show.
The first year they took part was 1995 and they won a bronze medal. Beverly said: “Success has followed in subsequent shows, giving us a tally of two bronze, three silver and one silver gilt.”
The flower club’s current 65 members meet at the St Barnabas Centre in Thorley on the first Tuesday of each month and they continue to take part in local flower festivals. “St James the Great, Thorley, is an annual event that the club supports,” said Beverly.
The group also celebrate National Flower Arranging Day, which this year falls on Friday, May 4. In previous years, the members have put on flower demonstrations in Jackson Square and, in conjunction with the Lonely Bouquet campaign, they have left small posies around the town. People who find them are invited to pick them up and take them home.
The group is celebrating its diamond anniversary on Tuesday, May 28 at the Manuden Village Community Centre.
Accomplished NAFAS demonstrator Coral Gardiner will be the star of the show, which is entitled 60 Sparkling Years.
Tickets to this event will be available to anyone who wants to go along.
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