Welcome to the website of the Northern Ireland Group of Flower Arrangement Societies, an area of NAFAS.

Enjoy browsing through our site, as we hope to keep you informed, as to what floral events are happening around the area.

We are affiliated to NAFAS the National Association of Flower Arrangement Societies a registered charity. Currently the NIGFAS Area has 21 clubs with a membership of 1000. Our aim is to encourage all in the art of flower arranging, through demonstrations, talks, classes, flower festivals and show work. Many of these activities take place in local flower clubs to which you would be made most welcome.

No experience is necessary to join a flower club. Go along to one, you might discover a new talent! Please click on Flower Clubs to find one near you.

NIGFAS take an active part in the Belfast Spring and Autumn Fairs. Come and see us at our stand. See the Belfast Parks Department events brochures or website for details of these Shows.

There are lots of exciting events coming up and we would love to have your support at as Many of these as possible
Please Check Floral Events for Information
Liz Manning NIGFAS Area Chairman

NIGFAS CHAIRMAN Statement on Coronavirus

We are in a very fast moving situation and following consultation with our President and Secretary I have decided that we should follow the advice issued by NAFAS earlier today. While England / Scotland may be a bit further along as far as the spread of the virus I think we need to be sensible,  and for all of us the bottom line is the health and well being of members. 

The Mock Demonstrators Test is going ahead tomorrow however we are 

advising you follow the guidelines below. I am sorry if some of you have got some of this information via social media, however it does take a little time to deal with such a situation. 

Be sensible, look after each other and hopefully we can at least get into the garden and enjoy flowers while the many restrictions are in place. 



NAFAS Statement on Coronavirus

Attached is an updated statement on NAFAS position on Coronavirus. This will be added to our website today.


The Board are extremely concerned about the rapid pace of the developments surrounding Coronavirus and we are receiving a number of enquiries from members asking for advice. Our recommendations are:

  • Cancel all meetings planned in April 2020.
  • Give careful consideration to all meetings planned between now and the end of March.
  • Do not arrange any future meetings or events until further notice.


Do not arrange any future meetings or events until further notice.

Please note, these are recommendations only, and all decisions made are the responsibility of the Club or Area. There may be local considerations to be aware of, for example, a member of a club may contract the virus. Please contact Head Office should you have any concerns or for full information and guidelines about Coronavirus (COVID-19) please visit the NHS website – www.nhs.uk

It is the responsibility of the Club and Area Chairman to fulfill their contractual obligations to a Demonstrator if a meeting is cancelled at short notice, especially if flowers have already been purchased. Please 


March Newsletter

During the last few weeks, having been plunged into uncertainty, we have all been focusing on keeping our membership safe and well as our priority. We are aware of members concerns about the future of the Association. It’s true, these are testing times for us all, but we want to reassure you that the Association has the resources to come through this crisis and we will be there throughout to support our Areas, Clubs and Members.

Here for You

As your NAFAS Board of Directors, we have held our first Virtual Board meeting via an online conference facility.

The meeting was very constructive and positive, where we looked at how, as a oard, we can support you.

Step one – each of the Board Directors will be in touch with 3 Areas and so will be contacting your Area Chairman to help and support them through this uncertain period. To hear your issues, then work on how we can help you.

The other communication tool which has been dysfunctional for some time is the NAFAS website, As this is our main form of communication we have decided to proceed with the design of a new site that we hope will bring flowers and floral design back into all our lives. Our grateful thanks go out to those Areas who have made contributions to this project.

We were inspired to see on Wednesday evening an online demonstration by John Paul, a member of Londonderry Flower Club in the NIGFAS Area. Members of the club were joined by many of us from around the world. What an excellent initiative. We are certain that knowing how creative you all are, as we settle into isolation you will come up with many innovative ideas. The strength of our Association is the creativity of the membership.


So, start letting us know your ideas so that we can circulate, enable peer support, and as one big NAFAS Team we can work together.


We are obviously concerned about our Demonstrators, Speakers and Teachers whose work has been severely affected by the call from the Government to isolate ourselves. We hope that the recent information regarding the ‘self-employed’ will help to support those who earn a living from our industry. We will keep abreast of all Government initiatives to support you.


In this period, when we cannot physically meet, all forms of communication are even more important than normal. By reinforcing this national process, we want to encourage you to do whatever you can to keep in touch, remember for many you might be a lifeline.

We are certain that, with the kindness and generosity of spirit in this world, in drastically changing times, we can make a floral mark on our communities to show that flowers and nature lift our spirits and become the medicine we all need.

We ask clubs and Areas to keep your Facebook and website pages up  to date with comments about your club and flower arranging pictures, maybe from your clubs past events.

Chrissie Harten’s latest video, “Alternative Mechanics Using Chicken Wire” is available on the NAFAS website.

Finally, let us draw your attention to Let Hope Bloom. Launched by the  flowercouncil.co.uk this project fits well together with our own ethos of  bringing people and flowers together.


Keep safe

From the Directors of NAFAS,

Dr Christina Curtis, Craig Bullock, Ellie Meaking, Peter Mathers,

Ann Harding, Pam Ferguson and Kathy Lee

Obituary to The Rev Mac

NIGFAS members have been very saddened by the death of the
Very Rev. William McMillan MBE, MA on 19th. January 2020.
This is a tribute to our wonderful friend who is so sadly missed by everyone.
With affection he was called “Mac” by all who knew him and in a strange way he didn’t need the title “Rev” to indicate his Christianity and his love and respect for all aspects of God’s Creation. When Mac left school, his teacher said he would either end up on the stage or the pulpit. She underestimated him. He did both.
Mac said that he became involved in flower arranging by accident! His first love of flowers stemmed from gardening and he was a member of Suffolk Garden Society. Observing the Floral Art Competitions, he expressed his opinions on the matter of drapes and was challenged to do better. He accepted the challenge and joined a class taken by the late Mrs Betty McCrory. He used to arrange the flowers for special events in church and pretend that his wife Sheila had done them. It was not long before the Newry congregation realised that it was Mac and not Sheila who did the flowers. To quote his son” Dad, it is bad enough having to be the son of a clergyman, but a flower arranger as well?”
On moving to Dunmurry he ‘discovered ‘Julia Clements and Betty, recognising his particular talents, encouraged him to enter competitions. He was then persuaded to take his Area Demonstrator’s test. It wasn’t long until he undertook his National Demonstrator’s Test and was asked to demonstrate at the next National Show in Bournemouth. More National Shows followed. He has travelled the world demonstrating from Mexico to India, Barbados to Bangkok and many places closer to home. He used many of these events to raise funds for charities at home and abroad seeing every invite as a privilege and feeling that he learnt so much from the different cultures that he could not take a fee for himself.
He was chairman of NIGFAS from 1978-1980.
In Northern Ireland he worked to establish cross community nursery schools, places that did not exist at that time. At the 1978 Congress in Oxford he was awarded the IARF Albert Schweitzer Award for his work in breaking down barriers and in promoting religious freedom.
He was appointed a Special Associate of Honour of NAFAS in 1989.
He received the MBE in 1999 in recognition of his charity work.
Garden Clubs of America made him an Honorary Member, their highest award, granted only to 4 people outside the United Sates.
He lectured on several occasions in the de Young Museum in San Francisco.

In 2000 Mac was asked by Father Finnegan to design a festival to celebrate the Millennium at Dromantine House, Newry, Co Down and 120 of his friends from 26 different countries came to Design 2000- An International Symposium of Floral Art. Delegates gave him a standing ovation and Mac quoting his beloved Yeats ‘Tread softly / Because you tread on my dreams’ said simply ‘You have made my dream come true’. This international gathering was repeated in 2006.
A prolific writer Mac penned books, articles and pamphlets on many subjects. His writings displayed both a depth and breadth of knowledge presented in a style that was eloquent, accurate and instructive. ‘Floral Designs – A Celtic Way’ and ‘Beyond Mere Words’ are examples of his published Floral Art books
To celebrate his 80th Birthday and the contribution he made to flower arranging NIGFAS arranged to have a plant named after him and in 2011 the name HOSTA
‘Reverend MAC’ was registered.
He won Best in Show at WAFA in Canada and in 2014 Mac won the special WAFA award for the MOST INNOVATIVE design at the 11th World Flower Show held in Dublin, and this was after he supposedly retired!!
MAC was a true friend to many, had a great interest in history, a wonderful command of language, worked tirelessly to unite communities in Northern Ireland and served Dunmurry First Presbyterian (Non- Subscribing) Church faithfully. We in NIGFAS are so proud to have known this outstanding man.
He is survived by his wife Sheila who over the years had to stay at home because of work, family commitments and to ‘mind the shop’ but was his rock and constant support.
Our Thoughts and prayers are with Sheila and the family at this sad time and he will be missed by all in the Flower Arranging world.

Liz Manning

NIGFAS Chairman

Condolences Message  From Our Chairman

It is with great sadness that I have to inform you that Rev William McMillan MBE died  peacefully this morning. Rev MAC was a Special  Associate of Honour of NAFAS , a past Chairman of NIGFAS and a friend to many and will be greatly missed . Our thoughts and prayers are with the family at this sad time. 

Liz Manning 

NIGFAS Chairman

World Show Jaipur India
On behalf of everyone at NIGFAS can I wish everyone travelling to Jaipur, India for the 13th World Show 24th February - 1st March a safe journey and a great fun and flower filled experience through the wonderful world of flowers.
Sandra Abbott will be staging the NIGFAS Honorary Exhibit and we know she will be a wonderful ambassador for us.
Best wishes to everyone who has entered the competitions, to Joan Magee who will be judging and to Margaret Abernethy, Chairman of the Board of Directors WAFA as she carries out many roles over the time of the show.

Liz Manning NIGFAS Chairman


Image may contain: possible text that says 'A big congratulations to everyone competed in the World Show India. Thank you for flying the flag for Northern Ireland. What a fantastic result from Sandra Abbott Mindy Carruthers- 1st in 1 Broken Lines and Special Award Best Imposed and in Class 23B Rooted Tossed and Turned- Maureen Mulligan, Johann Henderson and Karen Frew all awarded Commended. We are so proud of you. Congratulations to everyone from other areas NAFAS and also from AOIFA who won awards. A great achievement from everyone. Liz Manning, Chairman NIGFAS'

Judge for Floral Art Competition for NIGFAS Day 7th March 2020 is Rita Braithwaite

Rita Braithwaite is a National Judge from Northumberland and Durham NAFAS

Unfortunately Pat Hutchinson is unable to attend

Message from Christina Curtis National Chairman

The Malvern Spring Festival 7, 8, 9, 10th May 2020

Good Morning 


Please find here with attached the schedule and entry form relating to the RHS Malvern Spring Festival for your information.


The theme this year is Wanderlust and Wonder.


Present day horticulture is a result of mankind’s wanderlust. For centuries people travelled the world discovering new plants and their special qualities striving to enrich lives and experiences.


Wanderlust is what drives us to explore, learn and find inspiration to create. It reflects an urge for self-development by experiencing the unknown, confronting unforeseen challenges, getting to know cultures and ways of life. As in gardening it helps us heal.


The concept of wanderlust could be taken literally; to create exhibits inspired by a voyage or more deeply as exhibit reflecting the journey of self-discovery, the longing for yet another new experience or vision.


Successful entries will be entitled to a £700 bursary (issued in instalments), however,  entries are limited. As ever please ensure that you examine the regulations as these are updated from time to time.


With kind regards.


Christina Curtis

These are the Students who were presented their NAFAS Intermediate Certificate in Floral Art and Design Level 2 from
NIGFAS chairman Liz Manning at the NIGFAS AGM
Lorraine Bothwell, Jackie Catherwood, Johann Henderson, Ann Mullin, Thomas Caw, Sally Mc Curry, Audrey Seawright, Elbha Walmsley
Also in the photograph is Tutor Barbara Megarry, NIGFAS President Jean Bruce and JDS&E Chairman Winifred Gibbon


For latest Photos & Videos from NIGFAS & NAFAS