A large number of visitors and exhibitors attended the annual Flower Show in Kilrea, where a wide variety of art, crafts, home-baking, plants, floral art and vegetables were on display.
The Flower Show Chairperson, Mrs Margaret Bamford, extended a very warm welcome to everyone. She expressed thanks to the NEELB and Mrs Stinson, Principal of Kilrea Primary School, and her staff, for the use of the school and its excellent facilities, and for their continued cooperation. She thanked the Flower Show Committee and stewards for their hard work, the very generous sponsors for their loyal support, the judges for giving their time and expertise, and the exhibitors who make the Show worthwhile.
Margaret expressed sympathy to the family of Mrs Rae Bolton who had sadly passed away earlier in the summer. Rae was an Honorary member of Kilrea Women’s Institute and had served on the Flower Show Committee for many years. She was Vice Chairperson, Entries Secretary and most recently Trophies Secretary. Many of us have plants in our gardens due to Rae sharing her plants each year on the plant stall.
Mrs Bamford introduced the special guest Mr Gordon Craig, Managing Director of Johnston Printing Ltd in Kilrea. Mr Craig ‘s family have long associations with Kilrea Flower Show as it was first instigated by his father Mr William Craig to be a joint venture for Kilrea Young Farmer’s Club and Kilrea W.I. some 68 years ago. Later when farmers were deemed too busy at this time of year it fell to the W.I. to take charge. Mr Craig said he was delighted to see a good turnout of visitors and many fantastic exhibits and noted that unlike the early days when his mother was involved there were no hats! He recalled some happy memories of holidays in Donegal as a child searching the beach for interesting pieces of driftwood to be used in floral art competitions. Mr Craig gave an outline of his career in the printing industry over 50 years. Firstly, with Finlay packaging in Belfast, transferring to Newcastle upon Tyne and then to London. He returned with his family to Northern Ireland twenty years ago to run Johnston Printing, a branch of the family business. In recent years the business has been responsible for printing the Show schedule and also WI programme. Mr Craig said he was delighted that Alzheimer’s Society would benefit from the profits of the show and as such he would be pleased to waive the cost of printing the schedules and back this up with a donation. Mr Craig concluded by declaring the Show open and was then asked to present the trophies and prizes.
Mrs Bamford thanked Mr Craig for his generosity. She then welcomed Mrs Jean Rees who with her brother Robert had kindly donated a trophy in memory of their mother Mrs Margaret McIlmoyle, who had been a great supporter of the show over many years. Jean spoke briefly of how her late mother had loved the Show and she was pleased to present the trophy this year to Mrs Roberta Currie for best exhibit in the vegetable section.
Mrs Bamford then introduced Miss Helen Taylor, a Dementia support worker in the Causeway Area.
Helen thanked the Committee for having chosen the Alzheimer’s Society as the charity to benefit from the profits of this year’s Show.
She said money raised would be used locally to give support to people with Dementia, their families and carers.
Mrs Jennifer Gardiner, President of Kilrea Women’s Institute, gave a comprehensive vote of thanks to everyone who had helped in any way with the smooth running of the Show. She said the Flower Show gives local people the opportunity to display their many talents. She also highlighted the wonderful work of the Alzheimer’s Society. Jennifer thanked Margaret Bamford, for her work as Show Chairperson. Thanking Mr Craig for giving of his time to come along to open the Show, for his support and generosity, she presented him with a token of appreciation. Finally, Mrs Gardiner expressed thanks to everyone for their continued support and invited them to have a look around the exhibits and to enjoy some refreshments.