The Origins Of The Solent Fuchsia Club

The Magnificent Seven

Following an item in ‘The News’, seven persons assembled on Wednesday 13th June 1973 in the Church Hall, Stubbington, decided we had a nucleus, formed a committee and named ourselves.

It was evident that we had to advertise to grow and thus available plants were gathered up and entered as a group at the Southampton Show in July of that year. Although not a winner, we gained some new members. Similarly, we entered the Southsea Show in August, again attracting new members. Now with increased membership, monthly meetings were possible. The venue, still the Church Hall at Stubbington, and with funds creeping up, we could afford speakers.

The second year started on a bright note with a membership of 46. Newsletters were now being issued to all members and once again we prepared to enter both the Southampton and Southsea Shows. Ambitiously, we embarked on our own show in July 1974, a three day effort held at a local nursery, which was voted a success.

1975 followed a similar pattern, but with our own show moving to Fareham, plus an entry in the British Fuchsia Society’s Show in London. Newsletters are still being issued, we have our own badge and a full programme of monthly meetings and outings, and a membership now standing at 120.

Contributed by the late John Bridgland.

The above was an article that appeared in Bulletin 46, December 1975, of the Federation of Hampshire Horticultural Societies.

Our Shows were held at Titchfield Community Centre from 2004 – 2011. Unfortunately, due to circumstances beyond our control, we thought it wise to cancel our show for 2012 due to the presence of Fuchsia Gall Mite in the Hampshire area. The 2013 Show was held at the Catisfield Memorial Hall on 27th July and was deemed a resounding success. Annual shows were continued at Catisfield Memorial Hall until 2017.

Stan Cash

The following extracts are taken from a letter received in October 1982 from Mr Ted Adams, a founder member of the Solent Fuchsia Club (Hon. Secretary 1973-1976).

Stan Cash, Whiteman Medal of Honour, Editor of the British Fuchsia Society and fuchsia correspondent of the ‘Garden News’, whose death was announced earlier last month, had a direct link with the formation of Solent Fuchsia Club.

I wrote to Harry Leytham, the secretary of the B.F.S. and obtained the names of local B.F.S. members, made and photocopied notices of a proposed inaugural meeting which were sent to the local press and radio stations and to departmental stores and garden centres in an area bounded by Chichester, Havant and Southampton. I also contacted Stan who not only gave me advice and encouragement in the formation of local groups but also published details of the proposal in the ‘Garden News’.

The first meeting was held in the Church Hall of the Church of the Holy Rood, Stubbington, on Wednesday 13th June 1973 with just seven persons attending. It was at this meeting that the group was formed and which has since grown to its present size.

The founder members in alphabetical order were: John Bridgland (Vice Chairman); Chris Corner (Committee Member); John Dyer (Chairman); Eleanor Harris (Committee Member); Alan Woodage (Treasurer); Dorothy Woodage (Committee Member) and myself (Secretary).

Our first priority was to recruit more members and it was decided to enter the specialist classes at the Southampton and Southsea Shows. Ian Hammond of Hammond’s Garden Centre supplied us (without payment), transport and a driver to Southampton and we recruited 14 members. Southsea followed, and following the advice of Jim Wills and Graham Gorrod, both professional fuchsia specialists, we were awarded a Silver Medal Card, £7.00 in prize money and were really on our way.

In 1974 we held a three day Show in Hammonds Garden Centre, judged by Ted and Eileen Saunders and the rest followed from there.

The success of the Solent Fuchsia Club is due in no small measure to Stan Cash who persuaded and guided me in its formation and to the dedication and hard work of the founder members.