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• Obituary: Pat Schooling of ‘Richmond Borough in Bloom’

• Obituary: Pat Schooling of ‘Richmond Borough in Bloom’

Pat Schooling, the indefatigable inspiration behind Richmond Borough in Bloom. Photograph courtesy of Benjamin Mole

Pat Schooling, who chaired the Richmond Borough in Bloom organising committee for 30 years, died on January 20th at the age of 92.

Throughout her time at the helm, she successfully managed to unite residents, local representatives, traders and councillors in joining her team to create an enthusiastic Bloom community across the whole borough.

“She was a born organiser,” remembers Sheena Harold, Chairman of the Teddington Society, close friend and herself a leading Richmond in Bloom judge. “And despite her age and physical infirmity, she had boundless energy. In many respects, she was Richmond in Bloom.”

Pat Schooling, a retired public relations executive, was a formidable and determined lady who had a great passion for all things ‘Bloom’. She and her committee worked hard to achieve their many successes, not least winning Gold for the borough in the London in Bloom competition in 2010. If that weren’t enough, the following year the committee secured a Silver Gilt award in Britain in Bloom against very stiff competition.

Pat and her committee expanded Richmond in Bloom to incorporate the Bloom Schools Gardening Awards, sponsored by Squire’s Garden Centres and with Colin Squire joining in the judging. Getting school children involved in growing flowers and vegetables was another of Bloom’s important successes.

“She played a huge part in making the borough more attractive with her many initiatives,” said Colin Squire, “and latterly with her inspirational work with the local junior schools’ garden awards.”

Reg Leach, for many years Richmond Council’s Parks Manager and a Richmond in Bloom committee member, described the annual awards ceremonies, over which Pat presided, as being “a sight to behold. Seeing so many happy faces of residents and business representatives alike receiving their awards from the Mayor was wonderful. Leading all the ceremonies was Pat, of course, happy to have concluded yet another successful ‘Bloom’ year.”

So many people, both within the borough and far beyond, will miss her, Sheena Harold added. “You can think of Pat every time you see a hanging basket, trough or plant tower in the borough. She was an irreplaceable tour de force.”

Pat’s funeral will take place on February 22 at Hanworth crematorium.

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