#Southend Florist wins award for fantastic window display
4th January 2012
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Winning window celebrated!

A Southend florist won a special prize for having the borough’s best festive shop window.

Out of the Earth, in Southchurch Road, Southend, swept to victory with a vintage-style window design, featuring two huge Christmas wreaths, dried hydrangeas, baubles and strings of pearls, after being nominated by a member of the public.

The shop beat off all the opposition, to scoop the plaque donated by chartered accountant and author John Kennedy Melling in memory of showbiz star Barbara Miller

This was the inaugural year for the Barbara Miller Award, to be given annually to the Southend business creating the best shop window for the Christmas season.

Out of the Earth proprietor, Jenny Wood said: “We are very very chuffed indeed about this – we didn’t even know we had been entered into the contest, so it was a lovely surprise.

The Worshipful the Mayor of Southend, Councillor David Norman, picked the winning window from all the nominations.

Barbara Miller, who died in 1990, was a Southend fan, had been a leading lady at the Palace Theatre, Westcliff, in the 1960’s.

She started her stage career at just four-years-old and later appeared in a raft of popular TV shows including Blackadder, the Two Ronnies, West End plays, panto and musicals.

Barbara also played the leading role of the Wife of Bath in the Canterbury Tales.

The well-loved actress was reckoned to have been a wife, mother or neighbour to 40 top actors, comedians and comediennes during her career.

Westcliiff-born Mr Melling was a lifelong friend of Barbara’s, and launched the award in her memory because of the way she loved the care taken by shopkeepers to decorate their windows at Christmas.

He was delighted by the winning window, and said: “This is a very well-deserved award. Christmas is a time for us to show pleasure and gratitude for all the thoughtfulness and kindness we have received.”

Southend-on-Sea Borough Council’s Deputy Leader, Councillor John Lamb, said: “The competition is an excellent idea because it allows us to recognise the extra efforts people go to at Christmas, to help keep the borough brimming with festive cheerfulness.

“We are very grateful indeed to Mr Melling for donating the trophy.”


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Claire T

Member since: 10th July 2012

I am the very proud owner of thebestofsouthend. My aim is to really shout about why Southend is so great & champion our local business owners who do a really great job!
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