Thursday, 23 September 2021

Flower show still going strong after 65 years

MORE than 1,500 people attended Binfield Heath flower show despite heavy rainfall.

MORE than 1,500 people attended Binfield Heath flower show despite heavy rainfall.

Organisers said gate receipts for the 65th annual show at Holmwood on Saturday were up by almost a third on last year.

There were almost 800 competition entries, up 15 per cent on 2012, ensuring that the produce tent was packed with flowers, vegetables and preserves.

There were also more entries than normal in the companion dog show.

Among the big winners was gardener and show veteran Andrew Lewis who was awarded five cups, including the Ray Willis Memorial Cup for the top tray with his selection of onions, carrots and runner beans.

Mr Lewis, 45, of Heath Drive, Binfield Heath, said: “This is the only show I ever enter.

“The reason I started was an old friend called John Cooper. He used to win the big cup — he won it 27 times — and when I first won it he asked what I was doing with his cup.

“I’ve been doing the show for 10 years now and I haven’t gone a year without winning a cup.

“The trick is to get good seeds and do plenty of feeding and watering.”

Brother and sister Toby and Katie Pentecost both won cups in the children’s art competitions.

Toby, five, took the Betty Povey Cup for children under seven with a picture of his house while nine-year-old Katie won the Olivia Wolska Cup forchildren aged seven to 11 with her outer space creation.

The pair, who attend Shiplake Primary School, live in Reading Road, Henley, with their parents, Sophie, 38, and Justin, 42, a film camera operator, and siblings Rosie, 14, Tilly, seven, and Bertie, two. Mrs Pentecost said: “This is the first time they have won a cup in two years of doing the show. We are really proud of both of them and their brother and sisters because they all worked really hard.”

William Butler won the Ola Wolska Cup in the children’s planted wheelbarrow category for the second year running.

The seven-year-old, from Woodley, also took first place in the outer space picture contest and vegetable house category.

His mother Lorraine Butler, 42, said: “I’m very proud of him — he worked on the wheelbarrow for three days solid. He is looking forward to coming back next year as every year he wins lots of prizes.”

The inter-schools art competition was won by Sonning Common Primary School for the second year running. The school receives a shield and £30.

There were 80 entries to the 16 classes in the dog show, close to the record of 85 set in 2011. Dog show organiser Stella Oliver said: “In the pedigree classes we normally get only two or three puppies but this year we had 14.”

The best in show prize went to by Simba, a five-year-old Belgian shepherd, belonging to Linda Strange, of Abrahams Road, Henley.

Mrs Strange, 58, said: “For the last two years I’ve entered Simba. I also have a dog called Rubin who won limit dog and puppy at Crufts last year.”

Christine and Barry Rundle, of Patrick Road, Caversham, won third place in the best local dog class with their four-year-old bichon frisé Dolly.

Mrs Rundle said: “I decided to enter Dolly after her groomer suggested it. It’s brilliant to get a prize and the fact that Dolly is a rescue dog makes it even better. The show is lovely and very well organised, it’s just a shame about the weather.”

Other attractions included a classic car display and fairground games including a coconut shy. There were also stalls selling a range of food, drink and local wares.

The show is organised by the Binfield Heath and District Agricultural Society.

Show secretary Trevor March said: “We had around 1,500 to 2,000 guests, which we are very happy with. The car park was absolutely chock-a-block.

“Not only were entries up but no-shows were down — people showed up when they said they would, which is vital for the show.

“It looks like we will have made a reasonable profit and we will be giving a portion of that to local charities. We have our annual meeting in December where we will decide the final figures and how we will allocate the money.

“My thanks go to everybody that helped out. The show is run by volunteers and scores of people helped this year. They are the most important thing in keeping it running.”

The full show results will be published in next week’s Henley Standard.

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