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Stanborough Park Seventh-day Adventist Church set for annual flower festival
The Rev William McMillan MBE, an award-winning floral artist, well-known throughout the world for his artistic ability, will be producing the main display at the forthcoming Flower Festival to be held at Stanborough Park Seventh-day Adventist Church in Garston during the weekend of September 13-15.
Entitled "Ode to Joy" the festival will feature more than 40 floral displays produced by flower arrangers from the church and other local churches and flower societies in the area.
This will be the 15th Flower Festival organised by Audrey Balderstone, a veteran fundraiser who has raised in excess of £100,000 for charitable causes from staging these events. This year the proceeds will be shared between Keech Cottage Children’s Hospice and the church’s Development Fund.
A personal friend of the "Reverend Mac" as he is affectionately known, Audrey’s first meeting with him was at one of his annual Flower Festivals held at his Presbyterian church in Belfast in aid of children’s charities.
An accomplished flower arranger herself she was interested in discovering who had created the floral displays and was surprised when she was told that the minister had produced all the displays himself.
Realising that this could be the same person she had seen recently giving a presentation at the national competitions held by the National Association of Flower Arranging Societies in Bournemouth she sought him out.
Audrey recalled: "As we chatted his warm personality and humble nature were very evident. We hit if off right away and over the next few years I wrote articles about his festivals for ‘The Flower Arranger’, the official publication of the N.A.F.A.S."
Since then she has kept in regular contact with him and his wife, who have become firm friends.
Audrey travelled to Northern Ireland to help him produce his two books on flower arranging and acts as his PA whenever he comes to mainland Britain.
When Reverend Mac heard of Audrey’s latest flower festival plans he immediately offered to come and help. He will be producing the main design of the festival along with their mutual friend Yolanda Campbell, Principal of her own floral Art and design school in Northern Ireland.
A special feature of this year’s festival will be a "River of Roses" where visitors will be invited to buy a rose and write a dedication to somebody.
It is anticipated that by the end of the event there will be around 1,000 roses in the "river".
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