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Forres Flower Show organisers cancel May fundraiser and ask for help for future events

By Garry McCartney

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Show chairman Bill Shand viewing some of the beautiful entries.
Show chairman Bill Shand viewing some of the beautiful entries.

A POPULAR local event has been cancelled due to coronavirus restrictions.

Organisers of Forres Flower Show (FFS) have agreed that their traditional fundraiser in May will not go ahead, and they will decide later in the year if September’s show can.

FFS chairman Bill Shand confirmed the group’s popular summer coffee morning and plant sale would be back next year.

It is is usually held at Forres Town Hall on the second last Saturday in May.

Mr Shand said: “With restrictions, we would have had to be socially distant, meaning a lot less tables.

“Only having the hall for two or three hours isn’t viable as our patrons like to sit, catch up with friends and wait for the raffle at the end.”

The organisers are also looking for new blood as seven of the FFS committee are standing down.

“Most of us are retired now and have given a lot of years to the show,” explained Mr Shand. “We need new blood to keep the shows going. The enjoyment comes from seeing what someone has grown, made or baked.”

Mr Shand initially got involved in the show as a participant when he was at primary school.

He said: “I have been around the shows since I was a boy, with my father showing his chrysanthemums (which I carried on until recently) and mother doing flower art. Between them there were a lot of trophies to polish! We went to all of the shows in Moray, sometimes two in the same weekend, doing one at night and the other in the morning. There were also shows in Aberdeenshire and, for the very good stuff, there was Stirling or Perth where there were a lot of top chrysanthemums, dahlias and vegetables, but Willie Mackenzie from Forres’ big onions were hard to beat!”

Show manager John Crossman admiring Willie McKenzie's giant onions.
Show manager John Crossman admiring Willie McKenzie's giant onions.

Mr Shand has been sorry to see exhibitors retire, move and pass away. He believes smaller and less-kept gardens have also contributed to fewer entries while hobbies have changed, contributing to a decline in interest.

However, he added: We’ve also had a good few new ones, proud to show what they’ve grown, baked or made during the last year, especially children who make up a third of our show’s with models, drawings and produce.”

FFS has recovered slightly over the last few years as more entrants grow vegetables or flowers in barrels, boxes, potato sacks and borders down the front or back of their houses.

He said: “We have changed the schedule from big multi-classes to one vase or three vases depending on the flowers. We also cut back on the number of fruit and veg to be displayed on a plate. There is always a class to suit, we don’t ask for an exhibit fee and there is always someone to help and advise.”

The FFS committee will hold a meeting in May or June to decide whether 2021’s event will go ahead.

Mr Shand added: “The September show going ahead is dependent on what restrictions are in place, the availability of premises and judges. There are only a few of them left – we are all getting on in age.

“We will also check what the other shows are doing.”

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