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Gardener wins trophy named after her mentor
Published 02/09/15

A GARDENER was overjoyed after winning a trophy named after the man who inspired her to start entering Binfield Heath Flower Show.

Sally Butlin, 63, won the John Cooper Memorial Cup, the top prize for local entrants, with a vase of mixed flowers.

She was also awarded the Mrs Stephenson Cup for best local entry in flowers or plants with the vase of gladioli, roses, thalictrum, solidago, dahlia and cosmos.

Mrs Butlin, who is self-employed, has been entering the show since 2007 after being encouraged by John Cooper, who was a member of the show organising committee for more than 50 years and had an allotment in the village.

When he died the cup was named after him. Mrs Butlin, of Heath Drive, Binfield Heath, said: “I have really wanted to win the John Cooper for a while. It makes me really proud.”

Mr Cooper encouraged her and her partner Andrew Lewis to enter the show.

“Back then we would only grow for our table,” she said. “John always had the best onions and he convinced us to take him on. In our first year we won the novice’s cup.

“John used to have an allotment in Binfield Heath and he would encourage everyone to get involved. He would show people how to do it and then laugh when they beat him. He was such a character.” Mrs Butlin, whose father used to run Engbers garden centre in Shiplake, said she picked the flowers from her village allotment on the morning of Saturday’s show.

“I chose the best-looking flowers but it was particularly fiddly to get the lilies in,” she said.

“I have won the flower arranging section cup before, in 2007, 2008 and 2012, but never the John Cooper Cup. It’s an honour to win it.”

Hundreds of people attended the 67th annual event, which also included a dog show and traditional fairground attractions.

Show chairman Francis Williams said: “It was a superb show with great help from the public for attending and people from the village who helped us set up across the week. The entries in the flower show were of very good quality."

Published 02/09/15

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