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Shirley’s mum and dad, Joyce and Harold Davenport, left, with Percy Thrower and a member of the Alvaston Floral Art Group.

WHEN she was young, Shirley Smith had a wonderful time travelling the country with her parents who were both keen and talented flower arrangers.
And, for many years, she helped out at Derbyshire County Show when her father and then her husband were show managers of the floral art marquees.
Her parents, Harold and Joyce Davenport, were both Royal Horticultural Society judges and were founding members of Alvaston Floral Art Group in the early 1950s.
When she was a teenager, she used to travel around the country to different shows with her parents.
“It was an amazing and wonderful life,” she said. “We would work through the night in the big marquees putting up exhibitions.”
Shirley said her mother competed at Chelsea Flower Show and her father won medals for his cacti and alpine collections.
“We used to travel by train and had little wooden troughs with wire handles to carry the flowers.
“My father was one of the first men to do flower arranging – it just wasn’t done back then. He was show manager of the floral art marquees at the County Show from the late 1950s when it was held at Elvaston Castle,” said Shirley, of Chaddesden. “My mum, sister and I all helped in some way. It was great fun.
“My father died in 1972 and my late husband, Norman Smith, took over as manager.
“We had our caravan on site for the weekend and, the day after the show, my husband spent time towing cars and other vehicles off the very muddy ground with our Land Rover as it often rained on the day of the show.”
Shirley said she would love to hear from anyone who knew her mum and dad through the floral art group, which was held at the Jubilee Hall, Coulton Lane, Alvaston,  their work at County Shows, or for any other reason.
She has sent us a photo of her parents and another Alvaston group member meeting the famous gardener, horticulturist, broadcaster and writer Percy Thrower when he visited the group’s exhibition at one County Show.
Shirley sent us her photo and memories after seeing pictures of the County Show sent in by Peter Ditheridge, of  Shelton Lock (Bygones, April 25).
Do you remember Shirley’s mum and dad or the Alvaston floral group? Add your comments.

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