A Donaghcloney floristry student has won a top prize at the Chelsea Flower Show in London.
Emma Sinnamon (20), who is hoping to graduate from a floristry course at Greenmount Agricultural College next month, entered a strapless dress decorated with real flowers and plants into the floristry section of the prestigious show.
She took the bronze medal for her creation, which had to fit the brief of being a floral dress suitable for a crystal ball.
Emma said of her win: “I was completely surprised. Everyone’s dresses were so different and I was over the moon with the bronze.”
She continued, “I made the dress from scratch, first by making the dress out of fabric and then putting on foliage. It took a couple of days to glue on all the flowers.”
Emma qualified for the show after winning a regional heat at Greenmount.
Getting the dress there wasn’t too difficult, although she had to bring the flowers over in boxes and then ‘build’ the dress on arrival by attaching them to the fabric.
Emma said she got her interest in floristry from her father, a gardener at Castlewellan Forrest Park
She was accompanied by fellow student Shannon Ormandy. The pair were the only two finalists from Northern Ireland.
The dress was displayed on a mannequin for the judging - it was only after she’d won and got back home that she was asked to wear the dress for the press photographs.
“The comments from the judges were really positive,” she said. “There were 16 girls in the final and everyone had very different ideas. No one’s was similar.
Anne-Marie Grant, a tutor from Greenmount who travelled with Emma to the flower show, said: “She’s absolutely fantastic and has worked very, very hard.
“She’s always been willing to jump into a project and say, ‘let’s have a go at this’.
“She’s very methodical in her planning and organising, and she knew exactly what she wanted to do. It was a real pleasure having her over at the show.”
Emma said: “I think I got the interest from my father. It’s a really creative thing to do and I wanted to do something creative when I left school. So going to Greenmount was perfect.”
She said the Chelsea Flower Show was a “great experience”.
“There was a lot to see and it gave me lots of inspiration and plenty of new ideas.”
Anne-Marie added: “Emma winning a bronze medal will give her inspiration to push on. It definitely gives the other students a bit of inspiration to say, ‘you know what, I’ll give this a go’.”