Sunderland Floral Art Club celebrates 60 years of blooms
A city club is celebrating 60 years of blooming lovely displays.
Sunderland Floral Art Club has seen flower trends come and go over the years, but its passion for bringing people together to create displays to brighten their homes has remained the same.
When a group of friends met on January 24, 1961, at the home of Isabel Clarkson in Coniston Avenue, Fulwell, to consider the founding of a flower club, little did they realise that the club would one day be celebrating its diamond anniversary.
The first official meeting and demonstration took place on February 15, 1961 at The Royalty Theatre and has gone on to host demonstrators from across the country, whilst inspiring thousands of home-made flower displays which have brought joy to members’ homes.
To mark the milestone anniversary, dozens attended a special demonstration this week at Bede Tower, Ryhope Road. Entitled A Diamond For A Day, it featured a demonstration by Lynda Fraser, an afternoon tea and a raffle.
Sunderland Floral Art Club chairperson Gloria Broad, who recently took over the role from president, and long-standing member, Sheila Robson, said: “It was a brilliant event and everybody seemed to really enjoy it. We had a lot of people attending, so we think we may some new members after this.”
The club currently has 38 members but often has visitors attending its monthly meetings and demonstrations at St Cecilia’s Church, Ryhope Road.
Gloria says it’s a great way to learn a craft, whilst also being a place for people to socialise.
"It’s a great way for everyone to get together for a chat,” she explained. “We have quite a lot of elderly members who live on their own, so it’s great company for people and a way to learn a new interest. We get a lot of younger members too as there’s a lot of interest from people wanting to do things in their home.”
With more and more people interested in improving and decorating their homes, floral displays are a popular art form and at the city’s branch they host demos from some of the best demonstrators in the country.
Gloria said: “We’ve definitely noticed more members joining, especially since we moved from The Royalty a couple of years ago as parking is a lot easier at St Cecilia’s.
"Flower arranging is a lovely interest to have and it’s a great skill to pass on too, I was showing my daughter in law just the other day. Trends have changed a lot over the years and you can make some incredible things with dried and silk flowers these days.
"Silk flowers are such great quality now, that people don’t realise they’re not real sometimes.”
As well as meetings and demos, the club has day trips organised by long-standing member Pamela Jameson and often creates displays for local horticultural shows and churches.
*Sunderland Floral Art Club meets on the third Tuesday of every month at 2pm at St Cecilia’s Church. All are welcome to attend. A membership is £25 or it’s £4 per demo for non-members.
*A special Christmas demo will take place at Bishopwearmouth Garden Centre on December 7 following by a wreath and garland-making workshop.