Some highlights of the past fifty years
Click on any image to enlarge:  Hover over image to identify occasion.

The common bond which has drawn us together over the last Fifty Years has been our keen interest in flower arranging.  It was that same enthusiasm which led eighteen ladies to come together on September 21st 1966 when they decided to form “Burwell Flower Club”.  The club also became affiliated to The East of England Area of the National Association of Flower Arrangement Societies – NAFAS.  At this time many clubs were being established across the country.  On October 13th 1966, the first meeting took place and now fifty years later on October13th 2016, we will be having the finale to our Golden Celebrations in the form of “A Vintage Evening”.  As time went by members also came from the surrounding area and the club was therefore renamed “Burwell and District Flower Club” in 1984.  When celebrating the Silver Anniversary in 1991 four founding members were made Life Members.

In the early days of the club Demonstrators would use flowers and foliage from their own gardens supplemented with some bought flowers to add interest.  Nowadays, with the huge availability of commercially grown flowers and foliage, this has reversed with items from the garden being used to complement these.  Today many of us would find it difficult to prepare a container with “crushed chicken wire” to support the flowers as in the past; we rely on “Oasis©”, a floral foam, making it much easier.

As with many artistic pursuits, trends and fashion dictate change.  This is no different with flower arranging; it too needs to keep pace with change.  This is apparent with the choice of containers used as well as the way flowers are employed to give impact to designs.  While there will always be a place for traditional flower arranging, it is good to create designs “of the day”; minimalism being favoured by some.  It is interesting noting these changes when perusing the photos.

During the life-time of the club, photo albums have been kept, recording special events where members have taken part.  The 18th, 21st, 23rd, 30th and 40th Anniversaries have all been marked by organising Flower Festivals.  The records reveal detailed plans, including programmes, of how these events were organised.  Some of our members share fond memories of those times.Members of the club have taken part in local flower festivals and events as well as arranging flowers for the opening of the new hospital for Newmarket and for “Burwell At Large”.

These have also included festivals organised by East of England Area, namely Ely, St Edmundsbury and Norwich- at both the Anglican and Catholic Cathedrals.  One member took part in the flower festival at Westminster Abbey 2009.  Some members regularly arrange flowers in their local churches, Ely Cathedral and Anglesey Abbey.

Some members find interest in taking part in competitions.  In the early days of the club a small competition was part of the monthly meeting and the Demonstrator for the evening would judge the entries.  In recent times a competition has taken place in alternate years.  Members have taken part in Area Competitions at shows including the Malvern show and RHS Chelsea on three occasions.

Hands-on “flower arranging” has always been a central part of the club allied to a love and interest in flowers.  Reading through the early “Minutes Books” shows that practice evenings were periodically on the programme.  Today we find “Workshops” are popular sessions with our members.  These are an opportunity to experiment with new techniques as well as traditional designs.  Members enjoy sharing ideas and often this leads to exchanging different shrubs and plants for the garden.

There have been fourteen Chairmen of Burwell and District Flower Club.  Two people have served as Chairman for two terms and one person has served three terms.  At the present time there are five past Chairmen still in the membership.


Written by Pauline Miller 2016

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