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Meet The BFA Team

Welcome to your chance to meet the BFA team. The team is mainly made up of the BFA board of directors.  The Board of directors are elected from the membership and by fellow members at the associations’ annual general meeting (AGM).

A maximum number of fifteen directors may be elected at any one time. The board then has a number of officers and directors that are given certain roles to fulfil in order to ensure the association runs well.

The BFA association manager oversees the smooth running of the organisation. The head of the association is the chairman, assisted by the vice-chairman, the whole team and the immediate past president.  The chair also allocates other directors roles and responsibilities and chairs board meetings and the general meeting. The board meet at least three times a year but is in constant regular communications.

 

Association manager - Tracy Tomlinson


Tracy Tomlinson has a wealth of experience within the industry, having worked as a florist since leaving school. Her career has progressed from that of a junior to the owner of the most successful flower shop in Coventry. She started in Sheffield before moving to Coventry in 1985. After 10 years managing a busy shop and gaining her National Diploma, she set up her own business, The Tomlinson Flower Company, in partnership with husband Frank.  

‚ÄčAs well as gaining 3 Gold Medals at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show and Best In Show, the shop has been proud of having both an Interflora Florist of the Year, and Young Florist of the Year among its employees.  In 2004 The Tomlinson Flower Company were the first winners of the Godiva Award for Best Business in Coventry & Warwickshire sponsored by the local Chamber of Commerce.

Tracy is well known in the floristry industry and has been a board member of the BFA for more than 10 years and latterly has been responsible for all the BFA Events including the Annual FleurEx trade show.  

Tracy played an integral part in the formation of the UK Judges Guild.  After competing in floristry competitions for many years Tracy qualified as a floristry judge and a Florint International Judge being part of the Technical Committee at the recent Europa Cup in Genoa last April 2016, and previously has adjudicated at the Interflora Florist of the Year, Eurofleurs, and The National Championships in Norway, Denmark & Russia.

When taking on her new role within the organisation in summer 2016 Tracy said “I am delighted to take up this unique position within our Industry, having recently sold my business I look forward to putting all my energies into growing the Association for the benefit of our Members and the Flower Industry.”

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Chairman - Brian Wills-Pope MBE

Brian first became involved in the floristry industry when he became a partner in a shop in Teignmouth in 1973 as a driver/ bookkeeper.  He is now in partnership with his wife Susan with 5 shops in the Torbay area.  He was a director of Interflora from 1977 to 1997 Chaired the District Affairs and Marketing committee before serving as President; he also served on the World Board of Interflora for 4 years and became World President. Brian has been a board member of BFA for 14 years and has chaired the Retail committee; he became Vice President in 2007 and Chairman of the Board in 2013. Brian has chaired the Floristry Industry Group of Lantra the Sector Skills Council for Land based industries. Brian was appointed a Fellow for the Institute of Directors in 1988.

Outside of the industry Brian is the Wing Commander in charge of the Devon and Somerset Wing of the Air Training Corps responsible for 1000 cadets in 29 locations, he is also Chairman of Governors of Torquay Boys' Grammar School. Brian was award an MBE for services to the County of Devon in 2005 and appointed a Deputy Lieutenant of the County in 2012.

 

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Vice Chairman and Training & Education Director - Sandie Griffith

Sandie started in the Floristry Business with her husband Bryan in 1975 with their first shop in Crowthorne and coming from a non floristry background quickly learnt all the aspects of running a shop from sweeping the floor upwards.  Their main business was Wholesale Florists and they moved more into Retail when they bought Jemini Flowers in Oxford in 1984. With three shops and 25 staff, training was always a priority. Her encouragement of her staff led to three Gold Medals and Chelsea Cups together with many finalists at Interflora Florist of the Year.

Sandie has always been involved in some part of the Industry, for many years within Interflora District 12. she was co-opted onto the Interflora Education Committee and her interest and passion for Training took off. She Chaired the Industry Training Organisation for Floristry and moved onto Chair the Lantra Floristry Group and sat on the Board of Lantra. She was invited to join the BFA Board two years ago to take over the Training and Education Committee, which is going from strength to strength.  With this very full agenda, Sandie also runs the WorldskillsUk Competition for Floristry taking 12 finalists to the Skills Show in Birmingham in November.

Outside of the business, Sandie sits as a Magistrate in Oxford, is very involved in the running of the Covered Market where she is a Tenant and finds time to head up the team of flower arrangers who look after the flowers in Dorchester Abbey.

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Events Director - Sarah Cunningham

Sarah started in the floristry business when her sons were young children and has worked hard building up her shop, Dandelyons in Ware, Hertfordshire, which has expanded over the last fifteen years to incorporate gifts as well as bespoke floral designs to entice customers in.
She won an award as “Micro Employee of the Year” in the National Apprenticeship Awards in 2010.   She has previously worked as a Regional Consultant for Interflora.

Sarah is a qualified floristry judge and has judged at UK World Skills, Interflora Florist of the Year and Florist of the Future along with heats for Chelsea.

She is also a keen demonstrator and has experience at venues including RHS Tatton Park, BBC Gardeners World at the NEC and also at BFA Regional Hubs.  She enjoys demonstrating and gets a buzz from passing on tips and hints both to fellow florists and the general public.

Her background was originally secretarial and she was formerly PA to the Chairman of Texaco based in Knightsbridge, London so she has experience in liaising with big corporate companies. 

Never one to rest on her laurels, Sarah is always keen to update her skills, always happy to take on new challenges and is delighted to be a Director of the British Florist Association.

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Lorraine Key

 

Lorraine is a fun loving person who is passionate about the floristry Industry.  She has an incredible knowledge base that started with an excellent grounding as a florist for which she is fully qualified.  

Lorraine is now the Teleflor International President, Euroflorist Industry Director and General Manager.  Prior to that Retail Manager for Interflora British Unit. 

Above all Lorraine has a dedication to make the industry, Stronger, innovative and life easier for our professional florists, which is why Lorraine is a board member of the BFA.

 

 

 

 

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Membership administrator - Claire Currie

 

Claire joined the BFA team in January 2016, she is one of the few members of the team that isn't from a floristry background, but this works to the BFA's and it's members advantage! Originally from a legal executive background, Claire has considerable experience in administration and quickly got up to speed with our industry.

Claire works 4 days a week and and is able to help with all matters of membership.

 

 

 

 

 

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Marketing Manager - Tracey Griffin

 

Tracey has literally grown up in floristry with her mum having a business for over 48 years.  After training fully Tracey has worked both nationally and Globally, prior to running her own wedding, event and corporate florist business. As a keen competitor her accolades include RHS Chelsea gold medals, Interflora Florist of the year runner up, and National Skill Florist Winner.

After co-founding and helping with the set up of Florismart Tracey was delighted to turn her energies to developing and promoting the BFA which she joined in winter 2015. 

Tracey works two days a week and tries to pack as much as possible in to benefit the association and its members.

 

 

 

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Editor of the BFA Magazine - Katie Bennett

 

Katie is no stranger to the flower world having been born into the thriving and successful family florist shop. 

After completing 3 years at university gaining a journalism degree, Katie realised that flowers made up a big part of her DNA and she needed to get back to them! 

Katie appreciates not just floristry but the business behind it, working for strelitzia software that helps florists control the day-to-day running of their shops! Katie is the newest team member and brings her experience, passion and expertise to the BFA.

 

 

 

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Show frontman - Dennis van Wonderen

 After growing up in the Netherlands, Dennis first tasted life as a British florist in 1990 when he undertook a work experience placement whilst studying floristry at the renowed Middelbare Tuinbouw School in Aalsmeer. In 1993 Dennis moved to England, working in many shops before opening his own shop, van Wonderen Flowers in Sunbury on Thames, Middlesex in November 2007.

Being the Events Director at the BFA, Dennis is responsible for all the BFA’s external events geared towards the industry and public at the RHS shows. Dennis and his team of designers won multiple  at RHS Chelsea, BBC Gardeners World Live and RHS Hampton Court with the BFA stands.
Being a Dutch florist and in constant contact with professionals from his home country, Dennis is constantly striving to introduce the Dutch approach to floristry in the UK demonstrating commercial pieces with flair that florists can all sell in their shops. By standing out from the crowd and daring to be different Dennis believes small business will be able to survive the current economic downturn as long as you keep reinventing yourself. Having demonstrated for many years at numerous events across the UK, Dennis says that he really enjoys being given the opportunity to share his skills with the audience whilst they sit and listen to some jolly banter along the way!

 

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