ON DECEMBER 1, 2021, Haslemere Flower Club closed its doors after 67 years of fun, flowers and friendship.
The club was formed in 1954 and was known as Fernhurst and Linchmere Floral Decoration Society when members could join for six months for 2/6d (12½p) or 5/- (25p) for one year. The first meetings were held at the Hammer Hall.
The club then met at Fernhurst Village Hall and was affiliated with Fernhurst Horticultural Society where they put on exhibitions at all the horticultural shows.
In 1955 the club accepted an invitation to join the National Floral Decoration Society later to be known as the National Association of Flower Arranging Societies.
In January 1956 the club decided to put an advertisement in the Haslemere Herald with the intention of interesting more members – this was done at a cost of 10/- (50p).
In December 1956, because of petrol rationing, the club’s activities were suspended.
In August 1965 the name of the club was changed to Haslemere Flower Club and then in 1970 the club’s monthly meetings were moved to Haslemere Hall, where they remained until the closure in 2021.
Over the years Haslemere Flower Club has contributed much to the fabric of Haslemere.
Each week members would take it in turns to produce a flower arrangement for the entrance to Haslemere Hospital.
Displays were placed in prominent places around town each year on National Flower Arrangers’ Day.
The club has celebrated major occasions by putting on flower shows, one of which was the centenary of Haslemere Hall when, inspired by the many clubs and societies which use the hall, each was represented by a wonderful flower arrangement.
The event was open to the public and money raised given to local charities.
Over the years the club has celebrated many successes, with members winning awards at area and national flower competition shows and winning Gold at Chelsea.
They have also taken part in exhibitions at Ham House, Chilworth Manor, Guildford Cathedral, Westminster Abbey and, for many years, ‘Florimania’ at Hampton Court Palace.
The club is very proud to boast that over the years members have held important positions on area and national committees and as judges, teachers, speakers and demonstrators.
For the club’s diamond anniversary in 2014, a special show was put on in the November with the title A Claus for Celebration combining beautiful arrangements for the anniversary and Christmas.
There was a preview with a bar and canapés with entertainment by the wonderful Haslemere Rock Choir.
Again, this show was open to and very well supported by the public and the money raised from this successful event went to local charities.
Each monthly meeting was well supported by members where we all enjoyed watching demonstrators working magic with flowers.
We had quizzes and outings, lunches in members’ gardens and many friendships were forged over the years.
As with many clubs and societies, we were unable to get the officers necessary to run the club because we were an ageing club and many members had taken on the rolls of chairman, secretary and treasurer perhaps more than once in the past – so the inevitable happened and we had to close.
The committee of Tricia Belchamber (chairman), Juanita Sharman (secretary) , Amanda Greenwood (treasurer), Joy Gomm, Jose Stead, Cecilia Brooks and Dale Bridgeman worked very hard to keep the club going over the past four to five years, even during Covid when we held Zoom meetings.
Unfortunately, it was felt the club had come to the end of the road without a strong committee to keep it going.
In December 2021 we met at Haslemere Hall for one last time where we enjoyed a delicious lunch, full of reminiscences and memories. The members were presented with a gift token and chocolates and all went on their way, many with enduring friendships.
The money remaining in the coffers has been divided between and gratefully received by two charities – The Friends of Haslemere Hospital and Haslemere Hall.
By Jose Stead