Blooming floristry students sowing seeds in final of national competition

Eve Bennett-Townsend presenting posy to HRH The Princess Royal with Principal Suzanne Duncan
Eve Bennett-Townsend presenting posy to HRH The Princess Royal with Principal Suzanne Duncan

Two talented floristry students have recently been short-listed for the finals of a national floral competition.

Eve Bennett-Townsend, 39, from Billingham, and Hannah O’Connelley, 19, from Thornley, have made the short-list of four in the Level 2 and the Level 3 categories respectively of the Smithers Oasis® Floral Products 2017 College Competition.

Hannah O'Connelley

Hannah O'Connelley

The competition was open to all level 2 and level 3 floristry students in the UK, and Eve and Hannah, who train at East Durham College’s Houghall Campus in Durham City, will now go head-to-head with students from across the country in the finals in June.

The first round challenge was to create a floral funeral tribute using a Naylorbase 10-inch wreath ring.

Students had to sketch their design and annotate with flower and foliage by the genus, species and variety; they had to cost it for retail value and submit three photographs of their finished design using a profile view, bird’s eye view, and close-up to show technique.

Sue Lee, a floristry lecturer at thre college said: “This result is tremendous to have two students in the final at both levels. We encourage our students to enter competitions as this is a great opportunity for them to test their skills and create a design which they may have admired or been inspired by, working to a competition brief to create a bespoke floristry design.

“The learners’ confidence levels increase dramatically after entering any competition, just from the feedback and the judges’ comments.

“To be able to add competition results to CVs is also attractive to employers and gives our students an edge over other applicants.”

Eve and Hannah are delighted they will get the chance to compete at the finals against other floristry students from all around the country.

Eve’s reaction when she heard the news was: “I can’t believe it, I am over the moon. Somerset here we come.”

And for Eve this was the second recent competition win.

The college ran a competition with its students, ahead of the recent visit of HRH The Princess Royal, to design the hand posy. Eve got to present it to the Princess as part of the official opening ceremony of the redeveloped Houghall campus in January.