Young farmer gets top prize in florals

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A young farmer swapped her tractor for flowers when she was crowned the winner of a national floral art competition.

Oonagh O’Neil, who lives in Oliver Street, Ampthill, won the senior National Young Farmers’ floral art category at the Malvern Autumn Show, which was held in Worcestershire.

Oonagh, 26, is a member of the Bedfordshire Young Farmers Club (YFC) and she was picked to represent the county after she won the first round of heats at the club’s annual rally held earlier this year.

Oonagh, who works at Walducks Farm in Leighton Buzzard, said: “You don’t really associate floral art with farming, so this was a great chance to do something I don’t really get to do as a farmer.

“The National Young Farmers have a competition they run every year with lots of different 
categories, including floral art. At the Bedfordshire YFC rally all the competitions are on show and you can compete. The winner then goes on to represent the county at the national final.”

She added: “I was really shocked when I found out I had won, there were a lot of entries that were of a really high standard. I wasn’t expecting it at all.”

Each contestant had to think of a design for the title ‘A moment in Olympic history,’ and Oonagh 
decided to depict the 
Romanian gymnast Olga Korbut’s historic perfect score. And this is the second time the young farmer has won the national floral art prize.

Judges commented at the contest that her design was “exquisite and skilful” with “supreme intervention and excellent finish”.

The former Redborne Upper School pupil works as a sheep farmer and has been a member of the Bedfordshire YFC for around seven years.

Oonagh also runs her own floristry business where she creates wedding flowers and bouquets for various events.