Charity champion stands down from Sandringham Flower Show

Good causes large and small enjoyed an early Christmas thanks to Sandringham Flower Show.

Show chairman David Reeve told a reception held at Sandringham Visitor centre that this year's show had generated a surplus of just over �25,000.

Beneficiaries ranged from local primary schools around the area to befriending groups, youth clubs and charities and volunteer groups which care for the elderly.

They included 60 pensioners living around RAF Honington, who enjoyed a slap-up Christmas lunch with all the trimmings in the mess on the base.

Other recipients included the East Anglian Air Ambulance, Addenbrooke's Hospital and the Norfolk Hospice at Tapping House, in Snettisham.

Sandringham Flower Show was originally launched by the Royal family in the early 1880s, to encourage estate workers to look after their cottages and their gardens.

In recent years, the show has grown to become one of the biggest one-day events of its kind in the region.

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More than 20,000 visitors flock through the gates each summer, for what has grown into a celebration of just about every aspect of outdoor living.

Since the late 70s, the show has also donated almost �500,000 to Norfolk charities.

The reception was tinged with sadness as two popular members of the show committee stood down.

Paul Murrell had been treasurer and administrator of the event for 10 years.

'I'm sure I speak for us all and not just the competitors, gardeners and charities when I say his administrative skills were second to none,' said Mr Reeve.

'He had ideas and his ideas have taken us a long way.'

Mr Murrell's ideas include the show gardens competition, which now exmbraces both large and small gardens and attracts some of the region's top designers and landscape gardeners, who compete for the coveted EDP Best in Show trophy.

Mr Reeve said the show gardens would continue. Many within the horticultural world consider them to be on a par with those at shows like Chelsea and Malvern.

Mr Murrell was assisted in recent years by his partner, Debbie Clelland. The couple were presented with framed photo-montages of their work at the show by the organising committee.

'We've had some cracking times,' said Mr Murrell.

'The real highlight was always this time of the year when we could present the cheques to all the good causes.

'Debbie and I wish the show every success in the future. I'm sure it'll go from strength to strength.'

Next year's show - the event's 130th - will be held on the Royal Estate at Sandringham on Wednesday, July 27.