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Forres Flower Show is cancelled for good after dwindling interest

By Garry McCartney

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Show chairman Bill Shand.
Show chairman Bill Shand.

A ONCE-popular annual event at Forres Town Hall has folded after 90 years in existence.

Forres Flower Show’s committee has agreed to call it a day and chairman of the last 25 years, Bill Shand, believes the town will be a poorer place without it.

He said: “The committee stood down at our AGM and there were no volunteers present to take on its running. In 1992 we had 19 committee members, in 2003 we had 15 and in 2019 just nine were left. All bar one, were aged over-65 and not as fit or mobile as they once were. It’s a shame but it’s also a sign of the times. Over the years, less and less exhibitors have entered - a lot of the older ones have retired, moved away or passed on.”

In the event’s heyday, over 110 people would exhibit their products at a single show. The numbers of exhibitors at the last event in 2019 was 59.

“It used to be the amount exhibitors put in that was most impressive,” said Bill. “The big classes then were of six vases as one entry. These covered the open border to gladioli to dahlias as well as roses, sweet peas and chrysanthemums. They made for a spectacular show and the judging took all morning. Sadly, in the end, most if not all classes were taken down to three vases or even just one vase.”

Bill had been involved in flower shows since he was a child, sharing his parents’ passion. His father entered chrysanths and his mother floral art. Both were Bishopmill Flower Show committee members.

Bill - who first got involed in Forres Flower Show 30 years ago - remembered: “My father was in his seventies when he retired from showing. I liked meeting the different people coming in with their exhibits - new and old hands. Everyone helped out with new comers as the rules can be daunting. It was always a great experience looking down from the stage seeing a mass of colour and taking in the smell from the flowers.”

He finished: “When we informed the Royal Horticultural Society about cancelling our affiliation they replied that many other clubs and societies have the same problems.”

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