The Bowthorpe Cup

I don’t rate myself as a gardener but I have won trophies at shows in the past – often with a minimum of effort. I’ve won them for fruit and let’s face it, fruit, by and large, grows itself. The real skill is in finding (say) 5 of a kind of fruit in tip top condition and matching each other perfectly on the day of the show.

My childhood village held a flower show. I don’t know, for sure, when it started. I entered it as an adult and I still hold this trophy.


It is always so hard to photograph shiny things! I’ve had a go with the main information but it tends to be a reflection of my camera and hands!


There we see – it was awarded by the Ifield Association Horticultural Society and this was the challenge cup for section 4 and that, I can tell you, was the fruit section.

The cup had been presented to the association by Mr and Mrs J Bowthorpe


I have no idea who they were but the cup still bears their name – the Bowthorpe Cup.

It was first presented 60 years ago in 1954.


The first winner, back then was N Longley – Sir Norman Longley who ran quite a substantial building firm. J Izard, in brackets, was the name of his gardener. I knew Norman – a good chap who cared about people and places.

The other early winners, R S S Hebeler with gardener J Moon and C J Denham-Davis with L Prendergast were not known by me.

Winners with gardeners soon faded out – a sign of social change.

When we get round to the 1980s, my name appears. I won it in 1982, shared it in 1984 and then won it in 1985, 1986 and 1987. That was the final year of the show. It had been a big marquee event and the cost of a marquee could no longer be afforded. The flower show closed and so I still hold that trophy. The flower show was a part of August Bank Holiday fun in the village.

By rights, it should have been mine for that final year and then up for grabs by a future winner. I still don’t feel as though I own the trophy, but just have it on loan. Maybe I should offer it to a local museum in the area of old Ifield (or, indeed new Ifield for Crawley New Town was built around it).


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One Response to “The Bowthorpe Cup”

  1. Prize winnings | Locksands Life Says:

    […] It is almost thirty years since my childhood village flower show ended. I have a number of souvenirs, not least the cup I won in the fruit section in the very last year. I wrote about that before and you can read it by clicking here. […]

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