50 years and still blossoming

Les Craib
Les Craib

Forfar Horticultural Society chairman Leslie Craib has been honoured at the annual Flower Show to celebrate his 50 years of loyal service.

Les was evidently shocked at receiving the award: “I was very surprised but I was really over the moon when they presented me with it.”

Les first exhibited at the Forfar Flower show in 1963 before taking up the roll as chairman in 1981.

The retired painter and decorator has both entered and judged in competitions, from local shows to the Scottish and National Championships. In 1997 he sat and passed the exams required to become a National Vegetable Society judge. The passion has long been in the family, with his father, mother-in-law and father-in-law all avid gardeners. His father-in-law was once horticultural society vice-chairman. It was not just his family, however, that inspired him.

Les said: “I was told by a previous neighbour that we were wasting our time because ‘nothing grows in Yeaman Street’, so I wanted to prove him wrong.”

He has seen many changes in the society during his tenure, but believes that they have been positive: “Over the years the quality has improved and there has been a number of new varieties exhibited. The floral art has advanced tremendously, with more exotic types being used.”

There have been many highlights, particularly the success that the society had in Aberdeen.

He added: “We went up to Aberdeen to exhibit for three consecutive years. Two of these years we won the best exhibit in the show.”

Les has also achieved many individual accolades including third prize at the Scottish Branch Championships and the National Vegetable Society’s Martin Robertson Award.

Even after 50 years, Les’ passion is far from burning out: “As long as I’m able to health-wise, I’ll always continue.”