PONTELAND PARISH FLOWER SHOW
Having been in abeyance for a good number of years the Flower Show was resurrected in 1978. It was promoted by Dr Jack White and Barbara, his wife, inviting all local organisations to send a representative to an inaugural meeting. On that snowy night in February, the current Ponteland Parish Flower Show was established. Barbara White volunteered to be secretary and remained in post until the current secretary, Les Dinning took over in 1992. Dr White sought out Bob Woolley, a renowned gardener and show exhibitor to be the first chairman. The Flower Show was to be held in the Ponteland Memorial Hall, and traditionally still is, on the second Saturday of September each year except that in 2020 the Show had to be a virtual Show because of the restrictions of Covid 19.
Following Bob Woolley, Bobby Thompson, rose expert and head gardener at Ponteland College (and the succeeding Northumberland Police H Q.) was elected to the chair. On Bobby’s demise Dr Garry Blessed took over as chairman for 1991. Syd Cowan was elected chairman in 1992 and after 26 years he handed over to David Goodchild in 2018. Dr Jack White remained as President of the Show until his death in 2018.
The Flower Show has always been a village event and has a history of successive generations of the same families entering the Show. There are regular changes to the schedule to enable different skills and interests to come to the fore.
Of course the Show isn’t just about Flowers and our most popular section covers Vegetables and Fruit, but we also have large Handicraft, Cookery, Photography, Painting and Children’s Sections. New classes are added every year and in recent years we have had wood carving and flavoured spirits. At one time there were many entries in the floral art classes but when it was realised that the entries were all from Flower Club members, they offered to put on a display instead. This has become a spectacular and popular part of the show.
Prize money is nominal but there are a number of trophies donated by the Town Council, individuals and local organisations which are presented at the end of the show followed by the raffle draw and a very popular auction of produce and flowers.
The standard of entries in our Show has always been high and some of our competitors are experts in their field but you don’t need to be an expert to enter any of the classes. We always have people showing (and winning) for the first time and it is especially good to see younger people getting involved. The children’s classes are always well supported by the Rainbows and the Brownies. The Guides provide afternoon teas on Show Day.
The Show Committee is small in number and some of us are creeping on in years but we manage to plan and get to Show Day with the help of volunteers and the very welcome help of the Memorial Hall Caretaker.
What does the Committee do? We meet three times a year. The first meeting is the AGM where we look at the finances of the previous years show and appoint the officers. We consider the schedule, discuss any feed-back from the previous show and look at any changes that may need to be made as a result. At this meeting we also make suggestions for Judges for the different classes and seek advertising for the Schedule.
The second meeting is to move forward with the planning of the schedule to be ready for the printer. We plan printing of prize cards etc. plan the list for stewards and confirm the appointment of Judges for show day. Judges will have been contacted with date and time for the show.
Between the second and third meeting Schedules will have been delivered to various shops and libraries and posters placed around the village. Local businesses and organisations help us by advertising in the Schedule and their support is much appreciated. The Schedule is also available at www.pontelandflowershow.co.uk.
The third meeting is to bring everything together and deal with any last minute issues. The Committee members are all involved in the hands on management of the Show both in the setting up on Friday and the Day itself.
Committee meetings last for about one hour. If you are interested in joining us or helping at the Show please get in touch via the website or firstname.lastname@example.org.