Bridgnorth flower club wilts after 60 years but plans to go out with a big bash

After 60 years Bridgnorth's Flower Club has finally wilted – but in this diamond anniversary year plans are taking root for one final goodbye bash.

A presentation to the Royal National Institute of Blind People
A presentation to the Royal National Institute of Blind People

"I don't want it all forgotten after 60 years. It's the end of an era," said Maureen Fullwood, who has been involved with the club for 48 years.

Sadly the coronavirus pandemic and a lack of members saw the curtain come down last year.

Cutting the cake for the coral anniversary in 1997, from left, Dorothy Ride, president; Pamela Beardsley, founder member; and Maureen Fullwood, chairman.

However, Maureen says: "I'm still hoping to celebrate the diamond anniversary in December with a luncheon and flower demonstration, even though the actual club isn't going.

"Over the years we have had quite a large club, but like everything else it's dwindled. With Covid I didn't think it was a good idea to start it again last September. It's rather sad it's all to be forgotten after 60 years.

"We gave such a lot of money away to a lot of charities over the years and on closing the account we ended up with over £2,000 in the bank and we have been able to send donations amounting to £600 to each of the following charities – Severn Hospice, the Lingen Davies Cancer Fund, Hope House, and the Midland Air Ambulance."

Maureen said it all started in the late 1950s when Patrick Beardsley moved with his family to Bridgnorth to take up a partnership in a chemist business on the High Street with Bill Howard. Beardsley & Howard chemists was born.

Celebrating the golden anniversary.

"At the time I was working at the chemist's when Pamela, Patrick's wife, announced that she was a member of Wolverhampton Flower Club and would like to start one at Bridgnorth.

"On December 13, 1962, the club was formed, initially with 100 members and a waiting list to join. Flower demonstrations were held on the second Thursday of the month.

"In those days it was like-minded ladies wearing hats sitting in rows with their raffle tickets – five for a shilling – watching demonstrators producing wonderful floral arrangements, having afternoon tea, and purchasing flower arranging items from a sales table.

"The first meetings were held in an upstairs room at the Swan Hotel in Bridgnorth High Street. As the membership increased a larger venue was needed and so the club moved to the Castle Hall, then to St John's Hall behind the Catholic Church where I became a member after chatting to Pam Beardsley at the school gates."

The retirement as chairman of Muriel Jack, centre left, in 1990.

After that they met in the hall in Racecourse Drive.

Maureen says: "From the very first meeting I attended in 1974 I was hooked, for 48 years. I have held the position of chairperson for two spells.

"Over the years we have visited many gardens, stately homes, been invited to the Houses of Parliament and produced floral arrangements for members of the royal family on their visit to the town.

A club monthly meeting and demonstration in 2008, from left Margaret Long, Jackie Beard, and Maureen Fullwood.

"Each year we held an exhibition to show off our skills. We organised summer suppers, lunches at members' homes, and coffee mornings. From the proceeds of these events we were able to support 15 charities, and every year we sent donations to the Birmingham Children's Hospital.

"After presenting a cheque to the Royal National Institute of Blind People we were invited to name a dog. Aptly we gave it the name Fleur."

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