BFA Industry Awards 2023: The Judging Panel - British Florist Association

BFA Industry Awards 2023: The Judging Panel

Every year the Industry Awards goes from strength to strength and we take pride in making it fair and robust. The judging panel is an integral part of the process as we combine judges marks with public votes to find our winners. The judges are a selection of industry specialists and the categories are split between them. This year the public voting and panel judging will take place online starting on the 9th August and after the nominees have uploaded their information.

We will provide the links to vote as soon as voting opens.

Join us for the FloriCon weekend and the Awards Evening by purchasing tickets through the link below!

Thank you to all the judges in advance of your hard work and you can read all about your industry experts below.

Moderator: Nikki Meader

Nikki owns and runs West Malling Flowers in Kent. Nikki has taken the shop from strength to strength catering for all aspects of floristry, retail, weddings and funeral work. Nikki and her team have gained a well deserved reputation for quality and service which has lead to multiple awards including BFA retail florist of the year 2015 and 2016. Nikki is currently Chair of the BFA and plays a vital role in organising our large florist focused events.

2023 Judges Panel

Donna Zurcher

Since the heady days of her initial career in retail, Donna has led three major public relations agencies and enjoyed in-house roles with global companies. She has worked with a diverse mix of national and international brands across the spectrum, developing and overseeing the successful and often award-winning delivery of campaigns along the way. Donna loved this career but she also had dreams of having her own business focusing on her other passion – flowers.. 

She established Mezu Silk Flowers 12 years ago with the aim of providing authentic, hand-crafted blooms that realistically reflect the many variety of flowers that can be found in gardens up and down the country. Quality and authenticity are the driving factors behind the business together with delivering a personal service. Today her blooms are widely sought after by florists and specialist retailers, wedding and event planners, interior designers as well as theatrical and cinematic set designers.

Steph Gillespie

Steph is Marketing and Sustainability Specialist at OASIS® Floral Products UK. Having been with the company for 6 years, Steph has had the chance to work with a fantastic cross section of people within the floral industry, from florists and wholesalers to organisations like NAFAS and Fairtrade. After completing a course in Business Sustainability Management in 2019, Steph was able to make her passion for protecting the planet part of her role, and now looks after the UK company sustainability plan – The Big Green Plan.

Sandie Griffith

Sandie is passionate about the floral industry and showcasing professionalism. Having owned and ran florist shops for many years she has always focused on her staff. Sandie values training and education very highly and believes in investing in your team to make sure your business thrives. She believes this maintains a healthy industry for the florists of the future. Until recently Sandie was on the board of Directors for the BFA and still supports the training and education team whenever she can.

Mark Entwistle

Mark has been in the floral industry for 35 years. After passing his exams and taking part in many competitions, he worked as a tutor before becoming the Creative Director of The Black Rose in Knutsford, Cheshire, where he worked on catering to clients bespoke needs as well as wedding and event work. Mark has won many RHS medals and a few years ago took his Demonstrator exams. Mark now works all over the UK delivering demonstrations and workshops whilst also freelancing on weddings and events.

Julia Ryde

A florist with well over 20 years’ experience, Julia has spent most of her career in vocational education, teaching floristry and floral design at both FE and HE (levels 2-6).  She has supported many students to achieve their potential and develop worthwhile careers and is passionate about empowering women to achieve success within this amazing industry. Julia has an MA in Education, and a string of other qualifications, but still maintains roots in commercial floristry.  In 2011, Julia became a member of the Judges Guild after passing the UK judges examinations and has held various positions with the Guild over the years. Julia has developed the competitors training programme for the Guild and is currently the chair of the UKFJG.

Julia is passionate about raising standards and encouraging a high level of skills and creativity and firmly believes education and competitions are a forum for increasing professionalism within the industry. 

Rebecca Hough

Rebecca is the Institute of Professional Florists Director is a master florist and qualified lecturer with a successful background in competition work including winning RHS Chelsea Florist of the Year. Rebecca develops industry qualifications and Standards, teaches on the Level 5 Master Diploma programme and is responsible for overseeing the quality and delivery of the Apprenticeship Standards and Level 4 Higher Diploma programme.

Su Whale

Su Whale is a florist and freelance writer with 30 years’ experience in the floristry industry. Having spent her career working in an award-winning high-street florist in Birmingham, Su left in 2018 to concentrate on her freelance work alongside promoting her own publications, the best-selling ‘Su Whale books’ on how to care for Cut Flowers, Foliage and Houseplants. 

Su writes monthly for the Interflora Trade Club and gives regular talks to floristry colleges both in person and on-line. She has also been involved in Interflora’s Florist of the Year competitions for several years as a reporter and as a compere. 

A regular visitor to the RHS flower shows, Su has covered floristry competitions from Chelsea Flower Show, Hampton Court and Tatton, experiences which she is keen to share to promote inspirational floristry to the wider public and to encourage students and florists to get involved.

Simon Ogrizek

Simon has worked in the floral and horticulture industry since 1988 and graduated in Gardening technology, Floristry and Landscaping in 1991. Simon has degrees in Agronomy and Horticulture and is currently the President of Florint who are the global trade association for Floriculture. He has held this position since 2018 but been a Florint board member since 2011.

Simon is a certified international Florint judge and assessor which he achieved in 2002. He works on the technical committee for large scale international competitions and has done so since 2006. Simon also chaired the technical committee for the World Cup held in Berlin in 2015. For the 2019 Interflora World Cup in Philadelphia, he served as leader of the Jury and technical committee.

In his home country of Slovenia he is president of the Slovenian Florist Association and is the owner of the Floral and landscape consulting company.

Simon is passionate about education and is President of the Slovenian education committee at the chamber of craft and small business. In addition he is a governing board member of CEDEFOP (European centre for the development of vocational and educational training)

Simon is a lecturer for floristry, gardening and landscaping and is a member of a few state education commissions for agriculture, confirmed by the school minister of Solvenia. Simon has promoted and presented horticulture for over 12 years with more than 600 television shows under his belt working with VTV and national television. 

Siân Wild

Siân Wild is the owner of multi award-winning floristry business, The Flower Lounge, in Didsbury, Manchester. Having grown up in a horticultural family, Siân honed her skills as a florist working with events teams across the UK. In 2009 she founded The Flower Lounge determined to set up a floristry business that represented creativity, innovation and passion; delivered with outstanding customer service. She has won numerous BFA Awards, as well as securing National Wedding Florist of the Year at The Wedding Industry Awards.

Jo Biddle

Training and Education Director is an English Master Florist and qualified teacher and has taught Floristry related subjects for over 20 years, during which time she owned a successful floristry retail business in Lincolnshire for 10 years. She has helped to develop the new Level 2 Apprenticeship Florist Standard and completed her European Masters qualification in Floristry. Jo teaches on the Level 5 Master Diploma programme and oversees and verifies the apprenticeship programmes.

Sarah Hills-Ingyon

Owner of Sarah’s Designs a BFA member florist based near Sidmouth in East Devon. Sarah has owned several high street floristry businesses over the years starting her first at just 18yrs. Sarah is member of the UK Floristry Judges Guild and has been a dedicated competitor, demonstrator, and tutor. She has won numerous accolades, including prized medals at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show.

“Competitions are vital for the floristry industry to maintain quality expertise, continuously pushing boundaries and connecting to customers. I really look forward to being part of the panel for the BFA Industry awards”

Join us to celebrate the winners at our awards evening. Tickets to both the FloriCon weekend and the Awards can be purchased through the link below

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