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UK Floristry Judges Guild Key Supporter of the Interflora World Cup



The relationship between Interflora and the UK Floristry Judges Guild goes back many years, in fact, some of the Guild's founder members were originally Interflora judges! It was no surprise then, when back in summer 2021, the Guild chair received a phone call from Nick Priest, Director of Interflora outlining initial plans to host the World Cup to celebrate 100 years of Interflora in the UK.



The Floristry Judges Guild immediately sprang into action and devised a series of competition heats in order to find the UK representative for the World Cup. Interflora's Florist of the Year heats were launched in November 2021.


Although the Guild is a relatively small organisation, our knowledge and expertise of floristry competitions is second to none. Some members organised training events to encourage entries to the first round of competition to ensure inclusivity; others wrote schedules that were inspiring and exciting to prospective competitors; whilst others handled the more mundane, but vitally important admin, working closely with the Interflora team to ensure details were correct and judges allocated were in the right place at the right time.


The photographic heat generated a huge amount of interest. The Guild handled the admin, judged the entries, and finally selected 10 competitors to go forward to the live semi-final at RHS Bridgewater in Manchester in April 2022.


The Guild worked closely with the Interflora team, providing judges, a technical team and behind the scenes support throughout the event. The live semi-final was a superb showcase of top British floristry with the five highest-scoring florists being invited to the live final.



The final, held in July 2022, saw Lizzie Newcombe crowned Interflora Florist of the Year after a very close competition, with a fabulous display of skill and creativity from all participants. Again, the Guild provided judges and a technical team and liaised closely with the Interflora team to ensure a very smooth competition event.




When asked how she felt about representing the UK and Ireland in the World Cup, Lizzie commented: "I feel so incredibly honoured to follow in the footsteps of such talented florists in this journey to representing the UK & Ireland at the World Cup. I was lucky enough to attend the previous World Cup in Philadelphia in 2018, and I remember thinking how phenomenal it was. Being the next competitor is more than I could have dreamed of."


You may be forgiven for thinking that this was the end of the UK Floristry Judges Guild involvement. Far from it. During this time, a World Cup Advisory Panel was formed of Guild members with particular knowledge and expertise of international competitions. Their brief: to write the schedules for the World Cup. This was one of the hardest, and most rewarding elements of the World Cup process. Devising schedules fit for top designers, writing a brief that was inspiring yet encouraging individual creativity; and meeting the parameters of the event was no easy task.


Drawing on all their knowledge and skills, the advisory panel has come up with some challenging schedules and it will be fascinating to see them translated into actual designs in September.


Come September, you may also see familiar faces from the Judges Guild working at the World Cup. Lynda Owen, professional florist and double Interflora gold medal winner, national judge and author will be one of the Interflora international judges. Having judged internationally on a number of occasions, Lynda is honoured to be part of the World Cup judging team for what promises to be a spectacular event.

Lynda comments: "It’s a great privilege to be the UK judge at the Interflora World Cup. I look forward to a challenging competition, to judge fabulous floristry that showcases the immense talent of the world’s best floral designers."


Tracy Tomlinson, another familiar face from both the BFA and UK Floristry Judges Guild will be wearing her International Technical team hat, as she heads up the technical team throughout the 6 heats.

As Tracy explains: "My background of working in many countries as President of the Technical Committee has given me valuable insight, however, as with any major event, there will always be unforeseen challenges and surprises that pop up. Flexibility, adaptability, and a collaborative attitude will be crucial in navigating these unexpected situations. Being privy to the camaraderie among the competitors as the competition week intensifies is an inspiring experience. The dedication and passion displayed by the participants can be truly motivating.


Working closely with a diverse team of eight Technical Committee members, all experts with experience from various countries contributes to a balanced and unbiased approach to handling the competition's technical aspects. It makes it a unique experience to be part of the Technical Team for Florint during the Interflora World Cup and as a member of UK Floristry Judges Guild, I will make the most of this fantastic opportunity to contribute to a world-class event in the floristry community."



And finally, it is fair to say, that Guild member Karen Barnes has been behind the scenes during this past couple of years, working closely with Interflora to bring the logistics of competition to fruition: from the semi-finals through to the World Cup itself. Karen’s knowledge of judging both nationally and internationally has helped to ensure that not only have competitors been at the heart of the planning, but that the whole event comes together as a once-in-a-lifetime occasion and showcase for UK floristry and design.


"The event is enormous" says Karen, "and it’s the first time it’s ever been held in the United Kingdom!"


She continues: "Collating details from each of the competitors is mammoth, and I couldn’t possibly have done this without the fantastic team that I work with: planning unloading times, freight delivery, fresh material delivery, writing the competitor’s hand book, scheduling competition times, flag parades, and sourcing surprise items are just a fraction of what we have organised.


I also have responsibility for the floral decor at the venue which entails securing sponsors, creating design concepts, bringing together teams of florists, plus organising the supply of around 100,000 stems of fresh material, 2,000 buckets and sufficient water sources; just a small part of the mix!


All in all, this is going to be one heck of a competition and a truly incredible floral event. With so much going on, who would want to miss it!"


The Interflora World Cup is a historic moment for UK floristry and the UK Floristry Judges Guild is immensely proud to have been instrumental in supporting Interflora through the process.


We look forward to seeing you all in Manchester for an unforgettable event. To find out more about the UK Floristry Judges Guild, look at our website www.floristryjudgesguild.co.uk or follow us on social media.


 

Established to create a level playing field in the world of competition floristry, in the UK and Ireland.


The Floristry Judges Guild sets the standard for how floristry competitions are run, ensuring consistency in all aspects of judging, and upholding the highest standards and quality for floristry competitors.


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