PROFILE OF EX-OFFICIALS (in alphabetical order)
Janet Elmy joined the Ipswich Flower Club in 1973 and served as the Club Chairman 1980/81 and undertook a further term of office as Chairman and Secretary in later years.
Janet was the Area Publications Officer from 1981-1990 and her experience in this role led to her appointment in 1991 to the National Publications Committee where she served for five years.
A busy lady, Janet also held the role of East Suffolk Group Chairman 1991 – 1992.
In 1998 Janet became East of England Area Chairman and in 2004 was appointed as our Area President.
Janet continues to support the Area and is always a familiar face at Area Council Meetings and Area Days. 10.7.18
It’s difficult to know where to begin when we record Deborah’s numerous achievements throughout her long association with NAFAS whether at International, National or Area level. She became an individual member of London & Overseas Area in 1982 and went on to found the High Suffolk Flower Club in 1985. Her passion for floral art and her dedication to the East of England Area led to her being appointed our Area Chairman in 2003 and Deborah served a three-year term of office.
Deborah has always been a keen and successful competitor both internationally and nationally. She has represented the East of England in the WAFA elimination class and has led a team at the Gateshead Garden Competition on behalf of the Area. Deborah posses a wealth of experience in administration as well as practical flower arranging skills. A passionate gardener and horticulturalist, Deborah has lived in Suffolk for over 45 years, forty of which was in an old Suffolk farmhouse here she created a flower arrangers garden from a two-acre meadow. Indeed, The Flower Arranger magazine held a shoot in the house and garden.
An International Judge and Teacher as well as an Area Demonstrator, Deborah was awarded a Licentiateship of City & Guilds of London Institute in 1993 for achievements in education and was at that time the first member of NAFAS to be recognised to receive this prestigious award.
Internally, Deborah has judged at the Argentina 80thAnniversary Show which was followed by an invitation to demonstrate in Buenos Aries and Cordoba. She has judged on several occasions in Nice and Italy as well as being invited to judge the Special Awards at WAFA Japan in 2005. This has led to Deborah being invited to demonstrate or lead workshops in many countries including Italy, Switzerland, Bermuda, Japan, Thailand, Pakistan, India, Argentina, Uruguay and Brazil where Deborah was invited to open the Annual Flower Show.
Deborah is passionate about teaching and promoting both floral art and horticulture and her numerous skills and talents gained over many years enable her to continue to do this not only with the East of England but farther afield. 8.7.2018
In 1979 a keen flower arranger friend invited Sheila to an Open Meeting at Burwell Flower Club (later to become Burwell & District). The demonstrator was Derek Bridges, his title was “Maytime” and Sheila remembers being enthralled at what she saw. Shortly afterwards she joined the club and in 1981 when they needed a Secretary, Sheila volunteered. Little did she realised what that decision would lead to!
By 1986 Sheila was the Club Chairman and have been introduced to the Cambridge Group, the Area and the wider world of NAFAS.
Sheila was a member of the Cambridge Group Committee before becoming Area Secretary in 1993 serving in this role for seven years. She enjoyed being the Secretary to the two Area Committees responsible for the planning of the Flower Festival at Ely Cathedral in 1997 and the Area’s 50thAnniversary Celebrations at Newmarkets’ Rowley Mile Racecourse in 2004.
From 2010 – 2013 Sheila was the President of the East of England Area of NAFAS, a role which she served with great pride and diligence, working tirelessly for our Association.
Sheila says “Belonging to a Flower Club opened so many doors. A Secretary in my day job, I have always enjoyed the administration involved in my secretarial roles within NAFAS but have also been grateful for the opportunities to learn about the wonderful creative art of flower arranging especially at the workshops run by the Cambridge Group’s Contempories Club which I joined when it was first formed in 2000.”
She goes on to say “Over the years I have had the pleasure of taking part in Flower Festivals at Ely Cathedral in 1987, 1997 and 2018, Bury St Edmunds in 1992 and 2003 and Norwich in 2006. In 2009 I was part of the team at the RHS Malvern Show but I have to say the most exciting opportunity was being involved in the NAFAS 50thAnniversary Flower Festival in Westminster Abbey in 2009. What a thrill it was to walk through that historic building at five o’clock in the morning, our work completed, to see all the incredible exhibits in place ready for the Service of Thanksgiving the next day before the Festival was open to the public.”
However, Sheila says that for all of that, the real joy has been the lasting friendships she has made through NAFAS since she naively put her hand up to say she would do a job on the club committee. What a good decision that turned out to be – for Sheila, for the club and of course NAFAS as a whole.
MY LIFE WITH NAFAS – ELSIE LEEDING
Elsie writes ……. “Little did I realise when I was invited to attend a club meeting at Wickham Market Flower Club in 1969 what a big part NAFAS and indeed Area, Group and Club would play in my life. It was not long before I became a member and was duly invited to join the committee and held the position of Publications Officer. Then in December 1974, I was “volunteered” by the late Joan Hammond to take on the position of Acting Club Secretary, a position I held for 8 ½ years closely followed by being Chairman for 3 years. No computers in those days – just typewriters and tippex!!!! During this period I managed to combine my flower activities with being a mum to two small children and all that it entails.”
“With the family growing up I was encouraged to widen my horizons and from 1984-1988 served as Secretary of the East Suffolk Group of Flower Clubs covering 14 clubs which is part of the East Of England Area of NAFAS. During this time I was Secretary of the organising committee for the Area Show which was held in Debenham in 1988 and helped with the Flower Festival at Christchurch Mansion. I served a two- year term of office as Group Chairman from 1995 – 1997 and during this time was on the committee of the Area Flower Festival at Framlingham College. I was persuaded to take on the office of Area Secretary in 1987 which has a total in excess of 100 clubs when I helped to organise many Area Days at Thetford and events throughout the Area and also served on the JDS & E sub-committee assisting them in the many training and refresher days. I served a six- year term of office retiring in 1993.”
“I was elected Area 2nd Vice Chairman in 1996 and duly served a three- year term of office as Area Chairman from 2000-2003 and during this time was NAFAS Trustee/ Council Delegate serving on the Finance and General Purpose Committee at NAFAS Headquarters. In April 2004 NAFAS became an Incorporated Charity and I became a Founder Director attending numerous meetings at Osborne House.”
Elsie says “I have found it very difficult to select just a few of the wonderful memories of My Life with NAFAS. The service to celebrate the 50thAnniversary of NAFAS Westminster Abbey was a most moving and emotional occasion and I felt very privileged to have been invited. I was absolutely delighted that so many of you joined me the next day to visit the Abbey to see the Festival of Flowers. I also made the journey to Coventry for the Gala Dinner attended by 800 members – the décor was breathtaking. Being part of the team that organised the NAFAS Assembly at Cambridge and welcoming members from all corners of the UK was truly a wonderful experience. Indeed, the Area Show at Debenham and Area Flower Festival held at Framlingham College and indeed the one at Christchurch Mansion hold many happy memories for me. Whilst Area Chairman I travelled the length and breadth of the Area attending numerous club and group special events and occasions.”
“Furthermore, as Area Chairman, I was privileged to attend the WAFA 2002 in Glasgow and was present at a civic dinner held by Glasgow City Council and the Gala Dinner. I have been to many of the NAFAS Assemblies including those held at York, Chester, Kent, Wales, Exeter and Belfast. I shall always remember Roger Woolnough ringing me very early one morning to let me know that the team from the Area led by him had won a gold medal at RHS Hampton Court Flower Show – we wept tears of joy. Yes, you can guess it I spent a wonderful two days at the Hampton Court manning the stand with the then Area President, Doris Waymark.”
“The Bury St Edmunds Cathedral Flower Festival held during my term of office as Area Chairman was a truly amazing experience. £12,000 was raised for the Tower Fund. I was privileged to have the opportunity with my husband and others to go to the top of the Cathedral Tower (in a hard hat!!) during its construction and seeing the highly skilled craftsmen at work. Breathtaking!!“
“It has been very difficult to just give you a brief insight into My Life with NAFAS – it has been truly a wonderful journey and on the way I have made some wonderful friends throughout the UK. In October 2009 I travelled to Durham to receive my Past Directors badge from the retiring National Chairman, Valerie Best. and renewed many old friendships. To my utter amazement at the 2015 National AGM in Plymouth I was honoured to be made a NAFAS Area Associate of Honour. “
(Elsie was East of England Area President from 2013 to 2016)