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Hannah Friel - My Interflora World Cup Experience

It wasn’t just the competitors that shone at the 2023 World Cup, the venue did too. Over 200,000 stems were used to create everything from table flowers to the World Cup logo to telephone boxes. It took a highly experienced team to pull it together, including many talented volunteers from around the world.

One such volunteer was Hannah Friel, a floristry student from Moreton Morrell College (part of Warwickshire College Group). Hannah shares her experience in this article, giving us an insight into the event and behind the scenes at the Interflora World Cup.

Interflora World Cup Logo

"On the Friday I entered the complex, changed into my floral décor t-shirt, put my world cup tote over my shoulder, secured my free lunch pass and felt like the bees’ knees. Which, being in Manchester was rather apt. I walked through the main event with my friends and fellow volunteers before it opened to the public, practically A List. The competitors' work in the venue was insane! The talent that was in the room was out of this world, it seemed a shame there was a door on the venue as the public needed to see what was lurking behind.

behind the scenes

I entered the floral décor room; it was round the back, special access only, when I was slapped in the face with about a gazillion flowers. I mean, yes I’ve seen a flower or two, but this was…..A LOT! I couldn’t get over the monetary value of these bad boys. Flowers from everywhere and every variety. These flowers meant business, all looking their best. I’m a dreamer, but I knew I would just be conditioning all day, and these flowers were going to take a lot of conditioning, I was ready.

We weren’t conditioning, we were going straight into making fishbowl arrangements. The work was fast, fun, and hectic. But I soon settled in and realised I was making actual arrangements, to be seen at the World Cup. Yes, there were hundreds of other arrangements, the best florists in the world, there was to be alcohol consumption and a big fancy stage with an amazing competition, but still, I felt a sense of achievement.

starting the tree design

I remember moving on and we got sent over to a nice man called Dave to show us how to twig a tree (technical term). We were making table centre trees for the Gala Dinner, INCREDIBLE! It was so much fun, and from that simple activity I can assure you Dave that my confidence and skill base has simply improved. It was such a relaxed environment, working with my friends and making new floral friends from all around the globe, while listening to the competition over the wall and sharing tales of floristry goodness. After finishing for the day, it hit me that this Dave fella was actually David Ragg and I was star struck (once again!).

working on tree design

The Saturday was even better than the Friday. We really got going on the tree arrangements, adding in more and more luxurious flowers: orchids, roses, simply beautiful blooms. The trees then moved to the tables, and I was mind blown again to realise more was being added to the trees. More test tubes and lights, all hand placed into the arrangements. This was sweaty work as the sun was shining outside and temperatures were HOT! This was the UK floristry people really showing the world just what we the UK can do. When the pieces were finished, I remember just standing back, being sweaty, and just looking at what had been produced. A vision of twinkly trees, hanging candles and beautiful blooms atop these fantastic metal sculptures. The bases surrounded by beautiful arrangements and candlelight. It was a vision, it was impressive, it was hard work, it was fun but most of all I was proud of myself and an inspiring team.

finished tree design

The end of the Saturday was just lovely. Me and my pals were able to stand in a room that was going to announce the best florist in the world for 2023 and see many previous winners and inspirational floral people. We had shared many laughs and jokes while working on these projects and many happy moments were going to be had later, gathered around these arrangements!

admired tree design

It was a privilege to do something so incredible and I thank Interflora for allowing myself and the other volunteers to do something so wonderful. I left the World Cup with a head full of new ideas, an ever-growing passion for floristry, pride in myself and the team, close friendships and a star struck mind …. Oh, and don’t forget, two new t-shirts and a fetching tote!"

World cup design team

Thanks to Hannah Friel and her Moreton Morrell tutor Jane Benefield for sharing this story with the Floristry Trade Club.



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