Students at Bath College won two bronze medals at this year’s Chelsea Flower Show, impressing judges with their colourful creations inspired by the theme city streets and summer skies. Floristry students Linda Sorenson, Lora Stevens and Sarah Hampton all won the chance to compete at the world-famous flower show after scoring highly in the South West regional heat. Linda, from Bristol, won a bronze medal in the Chelsea Florist of the Year competition and Lora, from Radstock, also won a bronze in the Young Florist of the Year competition. All three students worked exceptionally hard to create their floral kites, made using fresh flowers and plant material, attached to intricate wire structures wound with brightly coloured wool. Linda was 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: “I didn’t expect to win a medal, as when I arrived to set up at Chelsea it was clear that all the entrants had worked so hard to create their exhibits. The details and the thought that had gone into all the designs was very impressive. “I was positioned to stage my exhibit between two lovely florists from the north. Jillian, from Scotland, had been to Chelsea before and had previously won a gold medal and Becky, from Preston, was the other college student. “They were both very lovely and the three of us supported each other throughout. I hadn’t expected this camaraderie and it was a bonus on top of being in Chelsea Florist of the Year.” Lora, 24, also won her first medal at Chelsea Flower Show. She has been studying floristry at Bath College for two years and finishes her Level 3 qualification at the end of June. She said: “I won a bronze medal, which I still can’t believe. Some of the judges commented that it was innovative, looked like it could fly, had great movement and construction and was well-made. “I’m so happy to have found a passion on flowers and can’t wait to continue my journey in floristry. I have two little girls, so it has been a challenge studying and competing at Chelsea, but I hope they are proud of my achievements.” Linda, who enrolled on a floristry course at Bath College, after working as a nurse for 30 years, was just a point from gaining a silver medal. She said: “I knew it was an achievement to compete in the finals, but it was only when I was talking to one of this year’s gold medal winners that I discovered how difficult it is to qualify. She had been trying to get into the competition each year, after previously competing six years ago. “We took turns at opening our envelopes and sharing the experience together. When I got my score card from the judges, I found out that I was one point away from a silver medal. “I was absolutely delighted because I did better than I ever thought I would. There were tears of joy for all of us and it was very rewarding.”
Students at Bath College made it hard for industry experts to choose the winner of this year’s Lovell Stone Group competition. A group of 16 full-time and part-time Love2learn stonemasonry students took part in the competition and spent a week creating carvings. They were given some Hartham Park Bath stone and asked to create a piece of sculpture that best represented the city of Bath. Company directors at Lovell Stone Group chose four designs to put on display at the Natural Stone Show at the ExCeL arena in London, the only UK exhibition and conference dedicated to the natural stone industry. Students Sam Bradley, Jeni Wood, David Lambard and Josie Baher all had their work displayed for the chance to win a cash prize. Three-hundred people at the Natural Stone Show voted to choose the winner, with the prize going to Love2learn stone carving student David Lambard. He said: “It was nice for the college to give us those three days to produce the piece and also to be put under time pressure, so that you had to produce something in that time. “Before I joined the stone carving class I had no previous experience, but I’m a builder by trade so I am very practical. The class is very sociable and it’s about doing something creative that’s only for me. I’m not producing something for a client, it’s my creation. Having the pieces displayed at The Natural Stone Show was fantastic.” Jeni, who also had her work displayed, is a sculptor living in Combe Down. Her design, called Respect, was inspired by the area’s mining history.
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.”