Obituary: Vera Ferguson, internationally acclaimed flower arranger and amateur operatic star

Vera Ferguson (née Mary Whyte Kellock), flower arranger. Born: 2 July 1931 in Kirkcaldy, Fife. Died: 15 February 2019 in Kirkcaldy, aged 87.
Vera FergusonVera Ferguson
Vera Ferguson

Born into a farming family in Kirkcaldy, Fife and encouraged by her parents love of horticulture, Vera took up flower arranging as a hobby to add to her life of dancing, singing, painting, skating, skiing and horse riding.

She studied flower arranging at Elmwood College, Cupar and the Japanese art of Ikebana in Tring, becoming one of the first Associate Masters in the country. She practised both Ichiyo and Sogetsu forms of Ikebana, a floral art form that dates back to the 6th century which links three concepts of spiritual truth, material substance and human creativity. Ikebana International is an organisation which has the theme of friendship through flowers with Chapters all over the world and she was a member of the Edinburgh Chapter.

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She shared her artistry through her teaching at Fife College in Kirkcaldy, Lauder College in Dunfermline, and with day school students across Scotland and overseas.

Becoming an area, national and international demonstrator she was invited to demonstrate from John o’ Groats to Land’s End, and overseas to Shetland, Bute, Ireland, Spain and Kenya.

She competed at all levels, winning many accolades including Flower Arranger of The Year in 2006 and The Best Overseas Exhibit in the 1977 Exotica World Show held in Durban, South Africa. This achievement was honoured in a ceremony by Kirkcaldy Town Council and an invitation to join the Women of Scotland Lunch which celebrates the achievements of influential women in Scotland.

She was a founding member of Kirkcaldy Floral Art Club and chairman of the club in its 25th anniversary year. She chaired the Judging, Demonstrating, Education and Speakers committee of the Scottish Association of Flower Arrangers (SAFAS) before becoming SAFAS Chair in 2000.

She went on to serve as a trustee on the National Association of Flower Arrangers and enjoyed collaborating with many distinguished floral artists to stage exhibits at Chelsea Flower Show, the Ghent Floralies, St Giles Cathedral, Kensington Palace and for the 2001 Commonwealth Day Observance at Westminster Abbey in the presence of the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh.

She was also a member of Edinburgh Floral Art Club and Beyond 2000 Contemporary Club and was a judge for the International Rose Trials held annually by the City of Glasgow.

She shared a passion for music and musicals with her late husband Tom.

She enjoyed over 60 years as an active member of Kirkcaldy Amateur Operatic Society and her contribution was marked with the role of Honorary Vice-President.

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She also performed and choreographed amateur operatic productions with Anstruther Operatic Society and latterly was a member of the Langtoun Singers.

She passed away peacefully at the age of 87 at Ostlers Care Home in Kirkcaldy after a short illness and leaves behind her daughter Monica Ferguson and extended family.

A celebration of her life will take place at St Bryce Kirk, Kirkcaldy, on Thursday 28 February.

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