A BRIEF HISTORY OF EAST PRESTON FLORAL CLUB


 

 
 
2017 will mark the Golden anniversary of the East Preston Floral Club.  At the first meeting, held on Tuesday 14th  November 1967 in the British Legion Hall, twenty  five members joined. Mrs Goode was elected Chairman and Mrs Thomas Secretary. Subscriptions were ten shillings a year plus two shillings attendance charge.  In February 1968 the Club moved to the Conservative Hall where, apart from a short period in the village hall, meetings continue to be held on the first Wednesday of the month.

A regular pattern of demonstrations and practice sessions was soon established as was a sales table.  Monthly Club competitions were started with classes for different abilities with kindly donated silver cups and salvers for the most successful.  Fund raising has included coffee mornings,strawberry teas, jumble sales, fashion shows and dinner dances.

Throughout the years Club members have won awards in local, area and national competitions. Teams from the Club have represented Sussex: in 2000 winning a gold medal at the Nationals in Cardiff, in 2006 assisting Sussex Area to win a gold medal at RHS Chelsea, in 2007 winning a bronze medal at the Nationals in Harrogate and in 2009 represented NAFAS at the 2009 RHS Spring Show where Sue Seath and Valerie Adams were awarded a gold medal.  Venues decorated by the Club have included Parham House, Mickelham Priory, Lancing College, Glynde Place, Roedean School, Christ’s Hospital, Worth Abbey, Arundel Castle, Westminster Cathedral and Westminster Abbey.  For many years the club has participated in the Chichester Cathedral's biennial Festival of Flowers and in 2016 two teams from the club will take part in the Festival of Flowers which will depict various artists.  2016 will also be the Emerald anniversary of the Sussex Area of NAFAS and a very strong team from the club will be taking part in 'Ephemerald' an exciting event to be held at Sackville College in East Grinstead in June.  Several other club members are involved on the organising committee.

The Club has always supported village life, including arranging flowers in the village churches and at Christmas in the library. For many years the Club hosted a ''Good Neighbours' party and organised rotas of members to arrange flowers in the Martlets and at St Brìdget’s (a Cheshire Home which was originally in East Preston and then relocated to Rustington).  For twenty six years the club has organised an annual Art and Flowers Exhibition as part of the  East Preston Village Festival, each year devising a different and striking theme.   In recent years a preview evening has been added which rapidly became a popular start to the Festival.  Proceeds of the exhibitions are donated to St Barnabas Hospice and now total over £25,000. 

The Club has crossed the channel on visits to the Keukenhof Gardens in Holland, The Monet Gardens in Paris, to Bruges & Ghent and to Floriade in Holland.   The Club makes trips nearer home to the ‘Nationals’ in different parts of Great Britain and outings to gardens and houses. 

East Preston Floral Club has over 100 members, is affiliated to NAFAS, being one of 51 clubs in the Sussex area and 1260 clubs nationwide.  The club is affiliated to the Royal Horticultural Society and is twinned with Kumeu Floral Club in New Zealand.  A typical year includes nine club nights with a demonstrator and competition, the AGM with American Supper, several workshops, outings and a Club lunch.  The club participates in local, area and national NAFAS events. The Club also holds regular 'Open Meetings' with eminent demonstrators. The Club continues to support many local charities, in particular', the Sussex Kidney Trust, St Barnabas House Hospice and the Chestnut Tree House Children‘s Hospice.