The Aegies Associates News & Blog Section
A veteran flower arranger from Tow Law, in County Durham, has been honoured for his community service by being invited to the Royal Maundy Service is at York Minster.
Norman Deacon, 79, has been invited to represent the Diocese of Durham when the Queen distributes Maundy Money at the Minister on Thursday April 5.
Norman, who has always lived in Tow Law, is being rewarded for many years of service to the local community. A former stonemason who became a builder, and built the house in which he and wife Betty MBE, live, he has a number of passions, including flower arranging.
He became interested in the pastime when the then vicar of St Philip and St James in Tow Law, The Reverend Anthony Driver, asked him to organise a flower festival in the church in the mid-1980s. The event coincided with a conference in Durham which celebrated the church’s most famous vicar, the Reverend Thomas Henry Espinell Compton Espin, a noted astronomer who was born in 1858 and died in 1934, aged 76. The conference coincided with the visit of some of the world’s leading stargazers to Durham.
Norman said: “I had always enjoyed growing flowers. I showed the likes of Chrysanthemums and won some prizes - you have joy and sorrow when it comes to entering shows. However, I had never taken part in flower arranging, although I had seen the work that some of the women did and admired the skills they showed. When I was asked to organise the flower festival, I set out to learn.”
He did that by attending classes at Bishop Auckland Technical College and went on to to teach flower arranging classes both at the College and all over the County.
Norman said: “I like the creative element of flower arranging. It’s a challenge each time. You have to come up with something new and original with each arrangement.”
He is looking forward to the Maundy Thursday event, where he will be accompanied by Betty, who was awarded the MBE in 1997 for 51 years’ of service to the Post Office.
Norman, who has been a church warden at St Philip and St James for 18 years, said: “It was a real surprise to hear I had been invited to the service and I am looking forward to it.”
* Norman also has a long association with Tow Law Football Club, including 35 years on the Committee.