Sowing a smile with flowers
348. Julie Ritter
347. Frances Hunter
Frances Hunter and Julie Ritter are volunteer florists from London who upcycle discarded flowers, creating beautiful bouquets for local care centres and hospices.
Frances and Julie met on a floral design course in London in 2013. They were surprised to learn about the wastage from the floral industry where flowers are often discarded immediately after use at weddings, photo shoots and other events. Together, with their co-founder Amanda Romaine, they set up ‘Floral Angels’, a charity dedicated to giving flowers a second lease of life, bringing bouquets to those in need of a bright, colourful boost to their day.
The charity works with over 40 floral suppliers, market traders and events companies across London and the South East to ensure a regular donation of flowers. The Angels and their team of 40 volunteers then work to turn these lightly used flowers into beautiful blooms and bouquets which they can deliver to centres in their local community. In two years they have delivered almost 7,000 bouquets to 35 sites across London.
Many of the people that receive these flowers have been bedridden for days or aren’t able to go outside. The bouquets and the volunteers that bring them offer a little gift and an act of kindness to people who are often in need of a morale boost. The charity believes that flowers have healing properties which can aid people’s recovery and well-being, and that one act of kindness can go on to generate other acts. Frances and Julie with fellow co-founder Amanda were recently invited to Clarence House by HRH the Duchess of Cornwall to upcycle flowers from an event at the House from the night before. The bouquets were donated to Maggie’s Cancer Centre in Charing Cross, which the Duchess is a patron of. Their local MP, Jane Ellison, also donated the flowers from her wedding to support the charity’s work.
Prime Minister David Cameron said:
“I’m delighted to recognise Frances and Julie as the UK’s 347th and 348th winners of a Points of Light award. They have worked tirelessly with the Floral Angels team to give so many people a moment of joy through the gift of flowers. Not only does their work bring a smile to so many people, but the friendly way they deliver their good deeds is a fantastic example of how small actions can build a more caring community.”
“We are so very honoured to receive this award on behalf of all of the volunteers and donors that make ‘Floral Angels’ possible. It’s such a simple concept but it really makes sense and shows how a small, unique act of kindness can make such a big difference to people. Everyone loves receiving flowers and for some people, this will be the first time they have ever received such a gift. We are a low cost, high impact charity and what motivates us is that we are making people happy.”
Jane Ellison, MP for Battersea, Balham and Wandsworth said:
“My congratulations to Frances and Julie for winning a Points of Light award. Together with Amanda and the team of volunteers, the Floral Angels do so much to bring joy and kindness to those in need. It is wonderful to see their dedication to spreading care and compassion recognised in this way.”