The 2017 Southport Flower Show got off to another great start despite the occasional downpour. The organisers expected over 80,000 people to visit over the four days of the show this year. Visitors will see many varied and unusual garden designs, including two designed by youngsters who entered the Schools Design-a-Garden Garden Competition.
With the generous sponsorship of the West Lancashire Freemasons’ Charity, the Southport Flower Show was delighted to run the Schools Design-a-Garden competition for schools in the north west of England. The competition was open to all junior school pupils (years 3, 4, 5 and 6). The children were encouraged to design an eco-friendly garden in line with the 2017 show theme of ‘The Curious Garden’, incorporating the use of plants, colours, recycled matter – and a lot of imagination!
The winning designs have been built into ‘real’ gardens for the Southport Flower Show by Myerscough College’s work-based apprentices, with support from Bannister Hall Landscape Supplies.
The two winners are James McManus from SS Peter and Paul’s Catholic Primary School, Mawdesley and Nicole Harvey from Holy Cross Primary School, Oldham. Each school will receive £500 for their grounds and each winning designer will receive a certificate and £50. There were also 10 runners up, each of whom receives a certificate and £50 for their school grounds.
The 10 runners-up were:
Shamal Harave – Merchant Taylors’ Junior Boys’ School, Liverpool.
Anna Flattery – Ravenbank Community Primary School, Lymm.
Clare Turner – Farnborough Road Junior School, Southport.
Hannah Waite – Helmshore Primary School, Rossendale.
Yasmin Lodal – Helmshore Primary School, Rossendale.
Louise Berry – Simonstone St Peters C of E Primary School, Burnley.
Scarlett Camm – Simonstone St Peters C of E Primary School, Burnley.
Thomas Meldrum – SS Peter and Paul’s Catholic Primary School, Mawdesley.
Laycie Martindale – Mere Brow C of E Primary School, Preston.
Eve Jenkins – Withnell Fold Primary School, Chorley.
The prizes and certificates were presented by David Winder (Assistant Provincial Grand Master of West Lancashire and Masonic Charitable Foundation 2021 Festival Vice President) and Ian Douglass (CEO of West Lancashire Freemasons’ Charity) in the Celebrity Theatre in the Grand Floral Marquee.
Before David and Ian presented the prizes, Ian said: “The WLFC is the largest Masonic charity outside of London and is one of, if not the largest charity in the United Kingdom to be run entirely without salary cost.
What this means of course, is that most of our income is available for distribution to our beneficiaries. The charity raises all its funds from within Freemasonry and I am justifiably proud of the fact that this amounts to well over £500,000 each year.
Whilst a considerable proportion of our grants are to Masonic beneficiaries it is the case that, in the last five years, WLFC has donated well in excess of £500,000 to deserving community causes. This together with donations from other Masonic sources means that Freemasonry has donated considerably more than £2,000,000 to the community of West Lancashire in the past five years.
I believe this to be an enviable record. The Freemasons of West Lancashire have always encouraged education of children in its widest sense and in fact, the very first of our charities was the West Lancashire Masonic Educational Trust which was established as long ago as 1850. Since that time, we have supported many, many children in various aspects of education and the sponsoring of this wonderful schools garden competition is yet another manifestation of our support.”
Tricia Coulthard, the Headteacher at SS Peter and Paul’s Catholic Primary School, said: “James McManus is a year 5 pupil in a mixed aged year 5/year 6 class. The class have been entering the competition for a number of years and have achieved runner up status on three occasions but this is our first winning design! We have spoken to the children about the money which James has won for the school and they would like to replace some of our rather ‘tired’ benches which are on the playground and buy some more shrubs for our Peace Garden and outdoor area.”
Sarah Walker, from Holy Cross Primary School, said: “Within year 5, the children have recently been learning about the environment, and in particular, man-made and natural changes. As part of a homework task, the children were asked to design an environmentally friendly garden, in order to enter the Southport Flower Show Competition. As a school, we were thrilled that Nicole’s design was chosen as the winning entry. With Nicole’s expert help, we will spend the money on improving our own outdoor environment, whilst being as environmentally friendly as possible.”
Following the presentation and a tour around the two winning gardens David Winder and his wife Susan made their way to the sponsors marquee for lunch to join the other representatives of West Lancashire Freemasons’ Charity, Ian (CEO) and Susan Douglass, Mark (Chairman of Trustees) and Debbie Matthews, Derek and Brenda Rooney, Howard Lloyd, Sandra Rimmer and Alan Riley.
During lunch, Paul Crone presenter for Granada Television, played compare and introduced Margret Tarpey, Chair of the board of Trustee Directors 2017, whom gave warm welcome to all sponsors of the show and having explained that the Southport Flower Show was the largest UK independent flower show and it being family friendly allowing under 16’s free entry. Margret started by thanking West Lancashire Freemasons’ Charity for their support of the children and sponsoring the Schools Design-a-Garden Garden Competition for the last eight years from 2010, which in the beginning was the originally started by David Bellamy OBE and looked forward to see them again next year. Margret continued on to thank the team of committed staff who work with great enthusiasm throughout the year and stated how blessed they were with over 100 volunteers who work on the show year after year. Finally she thanked the trustees of the board for their tireless support.
Following the speech from Margret Tarpey, David Winder personally thanked all the West Lancashire Freemasons’ Charity workers at the table for attending and Ian Douglass finished by thanking Derek Rooney for organising the event each year.
Finally the West Lancashire Freemasons Membership Trailer took up its usual prime position at the Southport Flower Show and as always had a number of volunteers on hand to distribute leaflets, advise and answer questions relating to what Freemasons do and how people can get involved. The team included Southport Group Chairman Colin Jenkins, Alistair Horn (group membership officer), Alan Jervis, Bill Dunne, Kenny Smith, Louis Vinnyey, Michael Parr, Mike Copland, Paul Matshews, Roger Dunlop, Stan Martin, Tom Bradfield-Kay and Tom McKenzie.