Taunton Flower Show has bestowed a unique honour upon its retiring chairman Bob Homeshaw.
He is to become the first patron of the show in its long and illustrious history.
The announcement was made during a social evening at Monkton Elm Garden Centre attended by over one hundred of the event’s most dedicated volunteers.
Bob was presented with a framed certificate in recognition of his remarkable contribution, by his successor as company chairman, Adrian Prior-Sankey, who said:
“Bob has served the show and its remarkable team with distinction for over 13 years.
He has chosen to step down from his position as chairman of the company and charity after one of the most successful shows in modern times.
So much of the success is directly attributable to his inspirational leadership and hard work and it was the unanimous decision of the board of directors to establish a significant title for such a unique contribution.
As the first patron and a life member, along with his wife Pauline who has supported him admirably during his tenure as chairman, we are confident that Bob will continue to make sure that our event retains the respect of horticultural enthusiasts and the support of the wider community.
We wish him well in his retirement and look forward to building on the foundations he has laid.”
The honorary president of the show, David Nicholson made a presentation on behalf of the many hundreds of volunteers.
A place has been booked on the next familiarisation day organised by Somerset Bee Keeping Association to enable Bob to develop his recent interest in the activity.
Mrs Homeshaw was presented with a floral arrangement in appreciation of her own contribution to the leadership of the team.
After a distinguished military career and following retirement beyond many years of service as bursar of Wellington School, Bob Homeshaw was appointed chairman of Taunton Deane Horticultural and Floricultural Society in 2003.
He was instrumental in reforming the governance and content of the annual show which has seen record numbers of competitors and attendances in recent years.
Conscious that he and his team of volunteers had inherited the stewardship of the oldest, longest-running show in Britain, Bob worked carefully to modernise the event and its organisation without losing the essence of its horticultural charm.
Amongst his proudest developments have been the introduction of Designer Gardens and the innovative ‘Ready, Steady, Garden!’ competition in partnership with BBC Gardener of the Decade, Kath Crouch.
In a short speech in response to the surprise presentations, Bob spoke of his pride in the popularity of Taunton Flower Show and his appreciation of the team that had worked with him.
He wished all involved every success for future shows and promised to discharge his new role as Patron with great enthusiasm.
The directors have recently appointed three new members to the Board.
Mrs Anne Leamon will serve as director of trading; Mr Nigel Handbury as director of membership development and Mr Stephen Froud as director for volunteer development. Plans begin in earnest next month for the 2017 event.
The two-day event will takes place again in 2017 in the town centre’s Vivary Park on Friday 4 and Saturday 5 August.
More information can be found by visiting tauntonfs.co.uk