Orwell & District Horticultural Society

By Jim Chapman and Derek Skipper

The society was formed in 1956 at a meeting in the Village Hall. The founder and first president was Mr John Whittow who held the position until his death in 1968.

At the meeting in September 1968 Mrs Joan Whittow presented the Society with a challenge cup in memory of her husband. This trophy, known as the Whittow Memorial Cup was been awarded from that time to the winner of the competition held annually at the October meeting. The first joint winners were Mr W. Collis and Mr W. J. Thompson.

Photo:Joanne Korosi, Chairman, with some of the Society's trophies at the 2010 Show

Joanne Korosi, Chairman, with some of the Society's trophies at the 2010 Show

The Harper Challenge Cup was awarded to the member gaining the highest number of points in the yearly competitions, excluding the October competition and the mid-year show.

In February 1968 the weather was very cold and no one had lit the fire in the Village Hall so the meeting was held at the home of Mrs Merry.

In 1970 the Society was granted the privilege of affiliation to the Royal Horticultural Society and in 1972 it was entitled to award the Banksian Medal of the RHS at its annual Flower Show.

The Society's first Flower Show was held in 1971

The first Flower Show was held in the Village Hall on September 4th 1971 when 338 entries were recorded. The Show Secretary was Mr H. Kneller and the Chief Steward was Mr Keith Bullen. The show made a profit of £138. 

Photo:Orwell Show 1971, staged in the village hall

Orwell Show 1971, staged in the village hall

In 1972 the Show was held in a marquee on the playing field of Petersfield School, and since 1973 the Society  organised a village Horticultural Show on Orwell Recreation Ground every year in August until 2012. Many of the chairmen have been leading lights in the village; i.e. Kingsley Lloyd, Gerry Arnold, Bob Bryant and Joan Stammers.

The Show grew to include many attractions in addition to the display of garden produce and home baking in the main marquee, but due to a lack of volunteers horticulture was no longer a major feature of Orwell Show from 2013.

The Society was renamed Orwell Gardening Club in 2016 with the aim of appealing to the less serious gardener, but from early 2020 is 'in suspension' due to a lack of people willing to serve on the committee.


See also reports on the activities of the Society's predecessors.

Photo:Prizewinners at Orwell Show 2008
Photo:Visit to GT. Chishill windmill, July 2009
Photo:Orwell Show marquee, August 2012
Photo:Dinner at The Pheasant, Chrishall, after a farm visit
Photo:Ray Parcell auctioneeing produce at Orwell Show 2009
Photo:Gerry Arnold & Kingsley LLoyd, past Presidents of the Society at its 1986 dinner
This gallery was added by Derek Skipper on 12/09/2012.

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