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Mother’s Day boon for Highgate Horticultural Show as kids spark bidding frenzy

13:03 06 April 2014

Highgate Horticultural Society

Highgate Horticultural Society's Roxane Stirling auctioning off the exhibits at the end of the spring show. Picture: Nigel Sutton

© Nigel Sutton email pictures@nigelsuttonphotography.com

An almost frenzied auction unfolded at a Highgate flower show as children bid with their pocket money against one another to try to claim some of the prize-winning blooms for Mother’s Day.

Children bought flowers for Mothers' Day at the auction, including (from left) 
Sophia Psyllides, Harriet Mollison and Katerina Psyllides. Picture: Nigel SuttonChildren bought flowers for Mothers' Day at the auction, including (from left) Sophia Psyllides, Harriet Mollison and Katerina Psyllides. Picture: Nigel Sutton

The shining sun brought a large turnout to the Highgate Horticultural Society’s Spring Show at the United Reformed Church, in Highgate Village last Saturday.

Visitors sipped on tea and enjoyed homemade cake, soaking up the atmosphere both inside and outside the church.

Within the church they were able to admire bright daffodils and scented hyacinths amongst other prize blooms, overset by tree blossoms looming above.

Dr Laura Boothman, one of the society’s committee members, said: “It was a fantastic day.

Laura Boothman with her mum Meril, who took the weekend off from lambing on her Yorkshire farm to win a flower arranging prize.
 Picture: Nigel SuttonLaura Boothman with her mum Meril, who took the weekend off from lambing on her Yorkshire farm to win a flower arranging prize. Picture: Nigel Sutton

“This time last year we were under four inches of snow, but this winter has been very mild, so lots of the flowers and plants are well ahead of where they would have been.”

It was family affair all round as mothers and daughters also competed for prizes.

Chairman of the Society, Alan Dallman, a perennial winner of the Brough Tankard for best exhibit of bulbous plants and flowers, was this year beaten to it by his daughter Alison Dallman’s superb pink camellias.

Dr Boothman, in contrast, entered the show with her mother, who had come down from Yorkshire, and explained: “People were taking flowers home for family members who couldn’t join us on the day.”

Mother and daughter Julie and Annabel Welch, six, were both winners.
 Picture: Nigel SuttonMother and daughter Julie and Annabel Welch, six, were both winners. Picture: Nigel Sutton

She attributed the high turnout to the fact that it was Mother’s Day the following day and that people were able to buy flowers that were “really unique”.

* The society is seeking new members. Visit www.highgatehorticulturalsociety.org.uk

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Michael Darvill, sub-postmaster at Highgate Post Office, pictured with the ATM machine that was damaged when thieves tried to blow it open. Picture: Nigel Sutton

Cylinders of oxy-acetylene gas, which are about 4ft tall and usually used on building sites for welding, were reportedly used in the failed robbery at Highgate Post Office, in Archway Road, in the early hours of Friday.

Despite the explosion, the section of the ATM machine that holds bank notes was not blown open and the raiders escaped empty-handed.

Postmaster Michael Darvill, 75, said: “I’m told that it was done by gas and it was oxy-acetylene gas.

“They set fire to it which caused an explosion – it’s hugely volatile.

“They hoped they would blow the back doors off the safe inside the ATM machine. It’s important people realise there is a safe inside.

“They left a lot of debris around the place but no money at all was taken. They didn’t get away with a thing, which is very good, but it’s caused an awful lot of damage and cost.”

Flying Squad detectives were called to reports of a robbery at about 4.20am but the suspects had fled the scene by the time officers arrived.

Police said debris found was consistent with a small explosion.

Detectives are investigating whether CCTV footage of the incident is available.

Mr Darvill was told a police patrol car passing at the time had CCTV equipment on board.

No arrests have been made.

The sub-postmaster has owned Highgate Post Office for 50 years and said it is not the first time the shop has been targeted.

“This is the trouble with being a sub-postmaster,” he said.

“It always has been, because we are the money shop in the high street and people think we haven’t got security. But we do have a lot of security these days.

“I’ve been a sub-postmaster for 60 years this Christmas and I think it’s been the sixth or seventh attack I’ve had.

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He said he felt lucky no one was injured in the robbery.

“Quite honestly you will find any builder is always very, very wary of oxy-acetylene,” he said.

“I have absolutely no idea how they did it and I think that’s why the police were worried about it because people will eventually get killed, so they want to nip it in the bud.”

Anyone with information is asked to call police on 101 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.

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