BEAUTIFUL flower arrangements representing the last five decades caught the eye at a special event to celebrate the 50th anniversary of Saddleworth Floral Arts Society.
Group members, the committee and special guests gathered for the landmark occasion on September 14 at Friezland Church Hall.
They enjoyed Prosecco and cake, made by Pam Rayner, as they got together for one of their first events after the Covid-19 pandemic.
Chair Judith Allen reflected on the history of the group, which was set up on September 5, 1971 and had various homes at Saddleworth School and then Lee Street in Uppermill.
Eventually it settled at Friezland Church Hall, where it has been for some years, and has flourished into a popular group with about 40 members.
At the meetings, which are held on the second Tuesday of each month, they welcome talented florists and industry experts to put on colourful demonstrations.
For their 50th anniversary event, there was a special Golden Years demonstration by Mark Entwistle, a Chelsea Flower Show gold medallist and former UK Florist of the Year.
He told the audience he had looked back at events over the last 50 years and interpreted some of the key events in flowers.
The 1970s brought the Queen’s Silver Jubilee in 1977 so Mark, who swapped a career in hairdressing to become a florist, created an arrangement using colours of the Union Jack flag.
In the 1980s, the question on everyone’s lips was ‘Who shot JR?’ in popular TV drama Dallas, so Mark created a display to represent that, including a vase with a bullet hole.
Nelson Mandela became first black leader of South Africa in the 1990s so Mark’s arrangement brought bright African sunshine and warm colours.
The millennium and 2000s arrived with innovation and digital creativity, which was captured in Mark’s display using test tubes to reflect a new trend for ‘foam free’ floral designs.
He then created an all white arrangement with green foliage to depict the 2010s as a more sophisticated, virtual age of new technology and he included an iPad in his display.
And finally, 2021 marks the Golden Anniversary of the society so Mark’s display was a tall, elegant creation including golden flowers and a large golden vase.
After his demonstration, each of the arrangements was auctioned off for lucky winners to take home.
Ros Harrison, chair at Flowers North West, was special guest at the event along with representatives from Chadderton and Haughton Green groups.
She said: “I can remember a lot of these things because I was born in 1975.
“I am the least travelled chair ever because of Covid but I am thrilled to be here to share this event. 50 years is just amazing and I hope there are many more after.”
• Saddleworth Floral Arts Society meets on the second Tuesday of each month at 7.30pm at Friezland Church Hall, new members always welcome. For more information, call Chair Judith Allen on 0161 633 1369.