A Newry teenager is celebrating after making it through to the final of the world-famous Chelsea Flower Show.
Seventeen-year-old Eilis Quinn is one of two green-fingered CAFRE students who will be going forward.
She, and Clare McAuley, from Newtownards, crafted beautiful hand-tied presentation bouquets to secure their places in the Final of the RHS Young Chelsea Florist of the Year Competition in May.
Level 2 Diploma student Eilis said she was delighted to have made it to the final.
“I’m really excited to be taking part in such a prestigious horticultural show and have started to work on my final piece for the competition,” she commented.
“It’s a floral kite and we will be judged on colour, technique, idea and composition – so there has been lots of designing and trying out different techniques over recent weeks to get it right. We are so lucky to have fantastic facilities at Greenmount and great staff supporting us.”
Twenty-two-year-old Clare McAuley, from Newtownards, who is also studying her Level 2 Diploma in Floristry, added: “Getting this far in the competition is in itself just incredible.
“Everyone has heard of the Chelsea Flower Show so the pressure will be on to get the challenge they set us just right.
“It’s a fantastic opportunity to showcase our talent and what we have learnt from our floristry lecturers at Greenmount.
“I’m really looking forward to soaking up the atmosphere and seeing all the competition entries and other exhibits.
“I love the whole process of deciding on what flowers, colours and fresh foliage I’ll use to represent my interpretation of the design brief. But we’ve only a few days left to prepare and create our designs which must have visually dominant fresh flowers before showcasing them to a worldwide audience.“
Head of Horticulture at CAFRE, Paul Mooney, congratulated them both.
“It’s a fabulous achievement for the students to get to the final of such a prestigious event,” he said.
“I’m very proud to say that our Greenmount florists already have an amazing track record of design competition success with a current student or CAFRE floristry graduate winning a Chelsea Medal in each of the last five years.
“We are doing all we can at CAFRE to support the girls and to cheer them on to great success at the show.”
If you are interested in a creative career in Floristry or Horticulture then visit the College website www.cafre.ac.uk to check out the courses on offer.