A RENOWNED flower arranger who has displayed at a royal wedding, at Chelsea and in India has retired from demonstrating after 40 years.

Cynthia Scott, of Jenison Close, School Aycliffe, fell into flower arranging by accident but it eventually led her to attending the royal wedding of Prince Andrew and Sarah Ferguson in 1987.

She set up Shildon and District Flower Club 35 years ago and Ferryhill, Sedgefield and District Flower Club 30 years ago.

She said: “I was living in Hexham, in Northumberland, at the time and my children had grown up so I was looking for something to do.

“Then I joined a flower arranging club with a friend of mine, Joy Taylor, and that was it. The teacher had me attending competitions and all sorts.

“I just kept on winning competitions and I took a City and Guilds in Teaching at Ashington College.

“We moved to School Aycliffe and I led a class in Shildon, near to Bishop Auckland, and at Brafferton and Heighington, near to Darlington.

“I still have a class now at Greenfield Community College, in Newton Aycliffe.”

She joined the Durham and Northumberland branch of the National Flower Arranging Association and became its chairman and then its president.

In 1987 Mrs Scott, 78, was invited to Westminster Abbey to help set up a display for the royal wedding. As a result she was invited to attend the service.

Her skills were tested in 1997 as she worked on a display at Durham Cathedral. Diana Princess of Wales died that weekend and Mrs Scott had to create a design to mark the death.

Mother Teresa died a short time later and the flower arranger also had to come up with a display to commemorate her death.

She helped to display at the Chelsea Flower Show in 1987 and 2003. She also travelled to India to display in 2005 and again the following year, visiting Delhi and Calcutta.

The Shildon and Sedgefield clubs are still going strong and they have helped raise money for charity.

Mrs Scott is a member of the Phoenix Club which meets several times a year demonstrating flowers in the region.

She said: “I’ve had a lot of satisfaction with what I have done.

“Flower arranging has changed so much over the years but it’s being a great life and it’s taken me to so many amazing places.”

Cynthia Scott’s top four tips for flowers are:

1. Cut stem ends before placing flowers in water to ensure that they stay fresh

2. Stand roses in an inch of boiling water to remove air blocks from the stems so that the flowers do not droop

3. Use a water spray to freshen flowers and arrangements for up to five days

4. Use plant food as it helps to preserve flowers. Lemonade was used in olden days for a similar result