It is with great sadness that we learn of the passing of Evelyn Mercer who has been a stalwart of NAFAS generally and specifically of Kent Area for many years.
Evelyn Farish was born in March 1932 in Bromley. When war came along, Evelyn was evacuated to Headcorn where she went to school before moving, at the age of 11, to Queenswood School in Hertfordshire where she excelled in music and was offered a place at The Royal College of Music. Unfortunately, due to parental pressure, Evelyn turned down the offer but went on to complete a secretarial course and became PA to the Chairman of J Walter Thompson.
In 1952 she married Nicholas Mercer and two sons were born in 1956 and 1961. When her sons went to boarding school she joined Sevenoaks Flower Club which provided an outlet for her creative talents. Not content with being a “member”, Evelyn was very much an active member and was President twice. She was active not only in the club but in the Kent Area becoming Chairman and then President. She then went on to join the NAFAS national committee and became National President. As President, she represented NAFAS at the World Show in South Africa.
Evelyn’s love of flowers and flower arranging took her far and wide. She enjoyed demonstrating both at home and abroad and this took her as far afield as the USA. She arranged flowers on many occasions at Westminster Abbey and St Pauls and was involved in the flowers for the wedding of Prince Charles and Lady Diana Spencer in 1981 and subsequently that of the Duke and Duchess of York.
Additionally, she put on many flower festivals, particularly at Leeds Castle, Lambeth Palace, Hever Castle, Canterbury Cathedral and Penshurst Place always raising money for charity. She was also part of a 10 man team from Kent Area which competed at Chelsea and won a gold medal.
A great friend of Julia Clements she worked with her on the annual Floral lunch at The Savoy Hotel which raised money for an Armed Forces Charity. Guests included Princess Diana and Princess Margaret
Evelyn became a member of the Gardeners Livery Company and was a Freeman of the City of London. During the In 1980s she took exams to become a Tourist Guide specialising in taking Americans around gardens in the South of England. She went on to be a blue badge guide showing people around London, specialising in historical buildings, Westminster Abbey, St Pauls and the Tower of London.
Evelyn loved flower arranging, her club - Sevenoaks, her area - Kent and NAFAS. She will be missed by everyone who came into contact with her.