History of the Club

The Catisfield & District Horticultural Society the predecessor of the Catisfield & District Gardening Club commenced on Friday 7 October  1960 when the first meeting was held.    The founding of the Society was by popular demand following a Flower Show that Dr Carling and three other people had been asked to run at the St Columba Church Fete in June of that year.

The Flower Show had proved very popular, and, with the Fete, raised a considerable sum of money for the parish of Holy Trinity with St Columba.

Later that summer the parish decided to go over to "planned giving", so the need for church fetes as a fund raising event was no longer necessary and so did the church fetes ended.

As the Flower Show had proved so popular, it was decided to form the Catisfield Horticultural Society to run further shows.   Hugh Carling became the first Chairman of the Society in October 1960 and the CHS started activities in 1961.

The first President of the Society was John Bridgland who was a staunch member from the begining until his death in 2014.   John will be remembered for the many fuchsia varieties he bred including a variety he specially bred called Catisfield Pride as well as his 100th birthday he celebrated in August 2007.
Another stalwart of the Society for many years was Bob Campbell who was Show Secretary from 1989 till his unfortunate death in September 2002.
For many years the Society based its yearly programme on holding horticultural shows twice a year and a Spring Flower show on occasins.  In its heydey these shows attracted a lot of entrants together with a lot of visitors to view the exhibits once judging had taken place.   There was quite a lot of competition for the trophies that the Society had purchased/obtained.  
Hugh Carling stood down as Chairman in 1999 after just 39 years at the helm!   He was succeeded by John Rustell who was chairman for 4 years until he resigned due to ill health in 2003.    Alan Martin succeeded John and he held office for 7 years before he was handed over to David Hawksworth in November 2010. 

By 2013 and 2014 the Society was experiencing a falling number of members and although there was a strong but small core of members interested in exhibiting in Shows it was clear that this policy was not attracting new enough new members, particularly as there was not exactly a friendly and welcoming atmosphere being created.  

At the AGM held in November 2014 the Committee came to the meeting with a recommendation to close the Society down after 54 years in existence.   The then Chairman was standing down and so was stalwart Alan Martin who was wishing to have a clean break after many years of giving his all.
At that meeting Glenn Duggan felt that it would be tragic for the Society to fold without an opportunity of updating it to see if it would attract more members.   He therefore stated his intention to try to save the Society, providing he had the support and loyalty of the membership.     The membership elected him unanimously.  

It was clear to Glenn that big changes had to take place.    No organisation can stand still and he felt that there had to be a move with the times.   One of the first things to change was the title which was moved away from "Horticultural" and "Society" to "Gardening" and "Club" which better reflected what the new organisation was trying to achieve.
After a disastrous summer show in 2015 where little little help nor support was forthcoming it was decided to take the radical decision to stop shows.    It was decided to concentrate on improving the quality of the evening programme and attracting new members to a friendly attractive club where there was no competition for prizes but merely a place that was warm, and friendly and encouraged learning about gardening for all levels of ability.   A new committee formed in 2014 and commenced the changes and the modified committee elected from 2015 carried through those changes the next year.    Encouragingly membership increased dramatically, thanks to the hard work of the committee in delivering over 1000 leaflets to local addresses and membership increased from about 20/30 members to well over 60.  Of course we lost old members who did not like the changes but what has happened has brought the Club back from the brink and long may it thrive.  
We do not intend to stand still.    This Web Site (the first entirely dedicated to the Club (created in early 2017) move us into the electronic age and we are opening a Face Book Page and looking at creating a Blog and Tweeting!    The growth in our membership means that we can book even better speakers and put together attractive away days but it depends upon the members to support the programme.    

Dr. Hugh Carling MBE - The first Chairman, he held this title until 1999 when he stood down.    The photo shows CHS President John Bridgland (right) congratulating Hugh Carling when he stood down  in 1999.  Hugh became President, but unfortunately died in October 2013.

                   John Bridgland and one of his fushias he personally 
                                     developed; "Catisfield Pride" 

                     Bob Campbell

Some of the previous winners of trophies from left to right Shirley Campbell who dominated in the 'Best in Show' Category in the late 1990s early 2000s.    Centre is Beryl Crudgington who together with her husband Bill were prolific winners of prizes at shows during the same period.   Right is John Rustell a 2003 Spring Show Winner and former Chairman.
Left is Alan Martin previous Chairman and regular prize winner during the 2000s.   Centre is stalwart member Doug Glading who has served both the Society and the Club with distinction.   Doug was a prolific winner of prizes particularly for vegetables. In this photo he is shown winning the coverted Catisfield Trophy awarded for the 'Oddest Shaped Vegetable'.   The shows also encouraged younger entrants; the right hand photo shows Jessica Lawless winning the 2003 Prize for "Best Exhibit by a Child".
Gardener of the Year Title Winners
2016 - Peter Langdon
2015 - Theresa Duggan
2014 - No Award Recorded
2013 - Colin Parker
2012 - Colin Parker
2011 - Doug Glading
2010 - Marion Taynton
2009 - Sue Dixon
2008 - Sue Dixon
2007 - Doug Glading
2006 - Roy Freemantle
2005 - Roy Freemantle
2004 - Roy Freemantle
2003 - Doug Glading
2002 - Bill Crudgington

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