Yorkshire flower show's 100th birthday

The giant onions, oversized leeks and huge courgettes at the annual shows help to attract almost 100,000 visitors to the region.

And as an interest in all things green continues to thrive, the North of England Horticultural Society celebrates its 100th anniversary.

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It was founded 100 years ago on Jaunary 6, 1911, at Leeds Civic hall in the Lord Mayor's rooms, and today a celebration event is to be held at the Civic Hall's Blue Room.

Part of the Society's work is to organise the Harrogate Spring and Autumn Flower Shows at the Great Yorkshire Showground, where the society is based, and run by five members of staff with an extended and tireless committee.

The spring show, to be held on April 14-17, last year attracted 58,000 people, and the autumn show, held from September 16-18, attracted around 35,000 people.

The show director Martin Fish said: "It is fitting, as we are marking the anniversary to the day.

We have a large and dedicated committee and it is a full time job for the team, organising the shows.

"They are extremely popular with large crowds attending. It is fitting we are still going strong. We have been looking for pictures from the early years but not many can be found."

Mr Fish said that in 1910 there were many months of discussion in the letters in the Yorkshire Post about the possibility of forming a horticultural society in the North of England.

The idea was so enthusiastically supported that on January 6, 1911, the North of England Horticultural Society (NEHS) was inaugurated.

Many records have been broken over the years including the late John Sifford's 16lbs 8.37 oz onion, during the 2005 Autumn Flower Show, Prince Charles is a patron.

The Deputy Lord Mayor Coun Patrick Davey (City and Hunslet) is attending the celebration, along with around 30 members of the society.

The Harrogate Flower Shows are regarded as two of the most prestigious, national flower shows in the gardening calendar and attracts the very top nursery exhibitors from across the UK.

All profits from the shows are returned to the charity and used to promote and support horticulture in the North.

For more details see www.flowershow.org.uk or telephone 01423 546158.

Tickets for the Harrogate Spring Flower Show are now on sale.