Three florists from Bath College have won a once in a lifetime opportunity to compete at the famous Chelsea Flower Show.
Linda Sorenson, Lora Stevens and Sarah Hampton will compete at the show after impressing judges during the South West regional heat.
Last year, a team of florists from Bath College won RHS Chelsea Floristry College of the Year and 17-year-old Emily Smith achieved a bronze medal in the Young Florist of the Year competition.
Lora and Sarah are among 16 florists from across the UK chosen for the final of the Young Florist of the Year competition.
Linda is one of two college students selected to compete for the title of Chelsea Florist of the Year, with most of the places for the final going to professional florists.
She said: “It was quite a surprise to get through. I entered the heat because it was an opportunity to make something very different from the type of thing you make in everyday floristry.
“I just wanted to have the experience of giving it a go. My design was quite simple, but the colours were very beautiful and I think that helped me get a good score.”
Florists entering the regional heats were asked to create designs inspired by a wedding for the curator of the Tate Modern in London. They will be in the spotlight as thousands head to the grounds of the Royal Hospital Chelsea, London, from May 22nd to May 27th.
Linda, who volunteers at Roots Floral Designs in Bristol, enrolled on a floristry course after working as a nurse for 30 years.
She said: “I felt it was time to try something new. One of my patients told me that she had done the Level 3 course at Bath College, and that got me thinking.
“I did a 10-week floristry course as a taster and became hooked. It is so exciting to have found another direction to take in life. Competing at Chelsea is a once in a lifetime opportunity, so I’m hoping that I can make something beautiful and unique.
“The Level 2 and Level 3 floristry students exhibited at Chelsea Flower Show last year. It was a huge group project that many of us worked on. It’s far more daunting to be entering as an individual, but we are lucky that our tutor Jo Matthews is very experienced at teaching creative floristry.”
Sarah, who works at The Blossom Tree, Flowers and Gifts, in Market Lavington, said: “I was nervous competing in the regional heat, but I found it was a great experience overall and it was great to see everyone’s creations.
“Last year we entered as a college group and achieved the best college award. I’m looking forward to returning as I loved entering last year. I’m sure it will feel very different as an individual competitor, but I can’t wait to experience it with Linda and Lora.”