Ipswich: Big birthday surprise for popular owner of Christine’s Florist

SHE is usually the one who helps people celebrate their big birthday milestones in style.

But today, popular florist Christine Hurst will be the one at the centre of the celebration as she marks her 60th birthday surrounded by family and friends.

Her Bramford Road shop, Christine’s Florist, has become something of an institution since it opened more than 40 years ago when Christine was just 19.

The floral expert counts Sir Alf Ramsey and Sir Bobby Robson among her past customers, and even remembers her first ever client – a bride called Sandy May (nee Baxter) – who loved her wedding flowers so much she continued to send her friends and family to the florist for years afterwards.

Having been a key part of many of her customers’ birthday surprises in the past, staff at the shop contacted The Evening Star to arrange a very special surprise for the popular businesswoman.

Florist Donna Farrow, who works at the shop, said: “Christine does a lot for everyone and we just thought it would be nice for someone to do something for her. She’s a very friendly and bubbly character, and she always puts others before herself. She’s a nice person to work for.

“If people want something delivered late she will do it – she always goes the extra mile for people.”

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The 26-year-old, who lives in Needham Market, added: “She would do this for any of us, so we’re hoping she’ll be pleased that people are celebrating for her.

“We all just got together and thought it would be nice to do something special, since she does so much for everyone else.”

This is a year of big milestones for Christine, who lives above her Bramford Road shop, as she celebrated her Ruby Wedding anniversary with husband John last month.

The mum-of-four, who now has a brood of four grandchildren, was inspired to become a florist by her father, Norman Cawston, who owned Station Nurseries in Trimley St Martin.

Having helped out in her father’s business as a teenager, and gained experience elsewhere, she decided to open up her Ipswich shop in her late teens and has been there ever since.

Among her close collegaues is florist Iris Leigh who has been at the shop almost since it opened.

n Would you like to send your birthday wishes to Christine? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN, or e-mail eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk.