Horticultural/Flower/Produce Shows

The Mrs Mabel March Cup

It is very natural that a farming village like Hickling has a long history of celebrating the produce and flowers grown here. There is much to add to this page but, in the meantime, this is a little snippet that came about when Wendy Bond contacted us. Wendy’s grandfather was Donald (Donnie) Simpson who lived at Rose Cottage in Hickling.

The Flower Show was run annually by the British Legion Horticultural Society – Donnie was something of a driving force behind the show. The Mrs Mabel March Cup was given by Mabel March of Chestnut House to the person who won the highest number of points in the garden produce section. The cup was awarded for many years; it was first given in 1930 at the first of these shows and just a couple of weeks after she died. It continued to be awarded at least as late as 1981.

There are a number of possibilities for the cup that was given to Donnie Simpson:

  • there may be another (the original) cup which was engraved each year with the name of the winner (whereabouts unknown).
  • this could be the original cup which was given to Donnie either in 1950 or at a later date because he was a frequent winner and it was then engraved with a winner’s name for the first time and for him.
  • this is a copy of the original cup which was made and engraved for Donnie to mark his winning the cup three years in a row.
  • after winning three times in a row, the original cup was engraved and given to Donnie; a new cup then being made for subsequent shows.
  • If anyone is able to help to clarify these guesses – please get in touch.

Sadly, Mabel March was hit by a car and killed instantly while returning from cycling to Farndon in July 1930. She made the trip each week on a Wednesday (probably to visit family, as this is where she grew up and her sister, Dorothy Slingsby, still lived in Farndon). She was always accompanied by a man-servant; on this occasion, Harry Marshall, who was also injured in the accident. In 1931 her sisters dedicated a plaque to her memory in the Parish Church; Mrs March married Frederick March in 1913 and had been widowed in 1927.

This gallery is from the Wadkin Archives