Sweet smell of 100-year-old success

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SPROUSTON is gearing up to celebrate the centenary of couple of special bunches of sweet peas next weekend.

A hundred years ago, the local minister’s wife won the huge prize of £1,000 from the Daily Mail in a national competition for the fragrant flowers. Her husband took third prize and his cash went towards building a chancel at the local church.

The village is celebrating the century-old success with a three-day festival starting next Friday, August 12 .

Organisers have been inviting entries of the scented blooms to four classes – experienced adults, amateur adults, children and schools, and the judges next Saturday will be well known Borders gardeners Tom Neillans and Bert Duncan

The event will include a display of sweet peas grown in exactly the spot in the manse garden where the Reverend Denholm Fraser grew the prize-winning flowers all those years ago.

Rev John Carrier, chairman of the National Sweetpea Society, will give a talk on the popular flower next Saturday afternoon.

Next Friday afternoon there will be home baking and teas in Sprouston Village Hall while entries to the sweet pea competition are accepted. A concert that evening in the parish church will feature the Roxburgh Singers, the Andante Chamber Choir and the Sweet Pea Wind Ensemble.

A flute group will perform next Saturday morning in the church where there will be sweet pea floral decorations, 1911 Daily Mail exhibits, Mr Fraser’s 1912 book, the 1898 Ordnance Survey map of the village and other memorabilia. Sprouston Manse’s garden will feature the restored historic garden with sweet peas and vegetables while in the village hall, festival-goers will find a memorabilia exhibition, souvenirs and recordings and, in the glebe, vintage tractors.

The competition judging takes place in the village hall marquee at 10am, with the show open to the public from 1pm till 4pmwhen the Duke of Roxburghe’s family will present the prizes.

The day concludes with a ceilidh in the marquee with music from the Small Hall Band and Charlie McIntee and Bill Gillie.

There will be a joint service next Sunday and the hall, manse garden and church exhibitions are open. For more information see www.sproustonsweetpeas.com