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Photo gallery: Long-lost Highgate Horticultural Society trophy unearthed in time for annual summer show

16:00 25 July 2014

Highgate Horticultural Society secretary Roxane Stirling with a cup that was last presented almost 100 years ago. It was recently given back to the society by a family who had held it for generations. Picture: Nigel Sutton

Highgate Horticultural Society secretary Roxane Stirling with a cup that was last presented almost 100 years ago. It was recently given back to the society by a family who had held it for generations. Picture: Nigel Sutton

© Nigel Sutton email pictures@nigelsuttonphotography.com

A long-lost trophy that was last awarded to a Highgate Horticultural Society member almost 100 years ago has been unearthed in an attic hundreds of miles away.

The silver cup was discovered in a box full of treasured possessions in a Cornish family’s loft by Julie Sandercock, 55, as she was having a clear-out following her father’s death.

She believes it must have belonged to friends of her parents who lived in an old cottage in the village of Bossiney, near Tintagel, and had a wonderful garden and greenhouses full of tomatoes and vegetables.

Her father’s friend William Smallbone and his nieces Dorothy and Bessie Scott all lived in the Cornish cottage and their possessions were left to her father, Reginald Climo, when the last sister died.

An old suitcase later revealed that William Smallbone had also lived in Storey Road in Highgate, establishing a link between the cup and the society in London.

Mrs Sandercock, who is retired and lives in Tremough, Cornwall, said: “I looked at the name on the trophy and wondered if the Highgate Horticultural Society was still in existence. The trophy doesn’t mean anything to me and I thought maybe the society would like to do something with it again.”

The cup’s inscription said simply “Highgate Horticultural Society Simplicitas Challenge Cup Presented by the Boundary Chemical Co. Ltd” and the engraved list of winners included W. Smallbone in 1915.

The First World War then intervened and the society did not have a show again until 1919 when the cup was again won by W. Smallbone, and for a final time, in 1920.

Cups are now returned each year, but in those days it was common for people to keep a trophy if they won it three consecutive times.

Almost 100 years on, Mrs Sandercock returned the cup just in time for the society’s annual summer show on Saturday at the United Reformed Church in South Grove, Highgate.

Among this year’s winners was overall champion Gary Sycamore and his unusual caped gooseberries.

Roses were also on display for the first time in two years after a poor season in 2013, along with metre-tall lilies.

Newcomer Julia Robb gave familiar faces a run for their money as she came away with prizes for her spinach and blue hydrangeas, and the Ham&High’s photographer Nigel Sutton had the honour of presenting the prizes.

The Smallbone cup was not awarded at this year’s event but the society hopes to bring it back into use at future shows.

For more information, visit highgatehorticulturalsociety.org.uk

Awards and prizes:

John Keynes Cup for most points for flowers, fruit & vegetables: Gary Sycamore*

RHS Banksian Medal for most prizes for flowers, fruit & vegetables: Gary Sycamore

Wheeler Baker Cup for most points for cut flowers and pot plants: Alan Dallman*

Lady Crossfield Floral Cup for best cut flower exhibit: Alan Dallman*

Alderman Wilfred Rowlands Memorial Cup for four kinds of cut flowers: Alan Dallman*

Cator Cup for three kinds of cut flowers: Eric Gurman*

Lady Tribe Memorial Cup for sweet peas: Eric Gurman*

Russell James Rose Bowl for hybrid tea roses: Eric Gurman

Modern Gardens’ Cup for best pot plant: Gary Sycamore*

Gibbon Cup for most points for fruit: Gary Sycamore*

Goodison Coronation Cup for six single vegetables: Michael Donagher

Frank Seymour Memorial Cup for cook’s delight trug of vegetables: Gary Sycamore*

Jack Pampling Memorial Cup for most points for vegetables: Gary Sycamore*

Gray Buchanan Cup for best vegetable class exhibit (tomatoes): Gary Sycamore

Hospital Cup for most points in home baking classes: Yvonne Locke

HW Smith Cup for a basket of summer flowers: Pat Simons

Edith Imber Memorial Cup for most points for home baking: Roxane Stirling*

Thomas A Weston Cup for best home baking exhibit (shortbread): Yvonne Locke

Laura Honey Memorial Silver Salver for best handicraft exhibit (lampshade): Betty Hall

Jo Page Award for most points for entrants aged six-10 years: Tufnell Park School*

HW Smith Cup for vase of flowers, entrant 16 years and under: Tufnell Park School

Diploma of excellence in horticulture (cut flowers): Eric Gurman

Diploma of excellence in horticulture (fruit): Gary Sycamore

Diploma of excellence in horticulture (vegetables): Gary Sycamore*

Certificate of merit in floral art (arranged flowers): Pat Simons

* retained from 2013

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