A FLORIST from Malmesbury has blossomed into a prize-winner this year at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show.

After making the finals of the Young Florist of the Year competition for the second year running, Emily Hepworth took home a bronze medal in the category this time around.

The 20-year-old owner of flower business Persephone Violet, based in Alexander Road, has been in the industry for eight years now and was thrilled to have taken home a prize at Chelsea.

“I was really hoping for something this time round,” she said.

“Just to get to the final is an achievement in itself but I was really pleased to win something. It’s a great achievement.”

The challenge this year for the young florists was to design a Brazilian headdress for the Rio Carnival.

Entrants had eight weeks to work on their designs, with the flowers being added to headdress the day before judging.

Emily said the standard was high this year and she learned a lot from other competitors.

“The standard was really good,” she said. “Everyone came up with something different. No two designs were the same.

“Everyone stays friendly. You’re competing against the brief rather than each other, so it’s a good exercise to look and see what other people have done.”

It is not the first time this year that Emily has been recognised for her work as a florist.

She recently won the Young Business Person of the Year at the Cirencester Chamber of Commerce Awards 2016, having taken her flower company from strength to strength.

“I’ve been going for two and a half years now, it’s been amazing” she said.

“I was 10 when I started floristry as part of school project and it ended up leading me into career.

“I started in a local shop at 12 which I was at for five years, then I moved to a design led one for two years before starting my own business.

“It’s something I’ve always loved and it comes across.

“I’ve been in the industry for a long time so it’s been a dream to run my own business.”

Tracy Tomlinson, an international floristry judge, said of the quality of this year’s Young Florist of the Year competition at Chelsea: “These competitors have competed at the highest level.

“The RHS Chelsea competition is the pivotal moment of a florist’s career and the BFA are proud to help them achieve this goal.”

For more information about the competition and the British Florist Association, who run the competitions at Chelsea, visit britishfloristassociation.org