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Personal View of Florence Bechelet [with jersey accent] interviewed by Beth Lloyd talking to her about the Battle of Flowers. She has been making floats since 1934, she decided to start when she saw a float in 1928, noticed a carnival class was being held-decided she wanted to take part in it, she made a watering can costume and showed it to a neighbour who said that she'd done very well, was going to walk in with it but it would have been too heavy. At 15 she found an old pram, which she tied with string planks and put a tower shaped clock and vases with flowers on it. With two friends she went to the Battle Of Flowers at Springfield and won 3rd Class in the class with 10 shillings prize money. She was determined to do better next time. She was not artistic at school, she put the floats together by looking at picture of animals to get ideas and cutting a piece of wire bigger than the animal and shaping it. For the first 3 years she made it with hydrangeas. She found out there was a prize for best exhibit in junior class and senior in wild flowers. In 1937 she made a weather house in heather and won first in her class and the junior wild flowers prize, which was 6 solid silver tea spoons. First record-a March from the Band of the Welsh Guards. Battle Of Flowers at Springfield was a smaller scale than today but had beautiful floats. They used a lot more hydrangeas in those days. There was more of a team effort in the past, young people used to put together exhibits, most young people were in the Battle. Springfield-used to hold up to 10,000 people who were mostly islanders but there were a few tourists. Local bands used to play. The outbreak of war stopped the Battle Of Flowers. Her family had a farm but they couldn't export produce and cattle kept being taken by the germans. They were left with 2 cattle, a severely depleted stock, in St Ouen. The Germans took 12 vergees of land in Les Landes. She didn't really deal with the Germans. Food was scarce-a lot of people were saved by the Red Cross parcels. She had planned for the Battle Of Flowers before the outbreak of war but didn't do it until 1951. It was a hunting scene, which won first prize in its class with a prize of £15, first in the junior wild flowers which was a prize of a silver tea set, the prix de merit, which was a prize of a refrigerator which still works today and the best exhibit of the whole show by an individual, which was a prize of a radiogram worth 160 guineas. Second record-Sound of Music. Battle Of Flowers started again in 1951 and went to Victoria Avenue which was a better venue and had a smooth road. She didn't know why it changed back as it started on Victoria Avenue. There hasn't been a Battle at the end of the Battle of Flowers for 7 or 8 years. At the end of the parade she used to have to protect her own float. She has started a Battle Of Flowers Museum through her interest in the event, it has proved popular after the first three years of difficulty. It was opened on 16th June 1971 with one building and then a second, third and fourth with sixteen models from the Battle Of Flowers in total. She has made 40 exhibits for the Battle Of Flowers and 13 exhibits for other fetes including on Grouville Common, St Ouen's Fete, Villa Millbrook and St Andrew's Park-in competition. Her favourite float was made for the Queen and Duke of Edinburgh's visit in 1979 with an exhibit of 40 flamingos, took it to Howard Davis Park and were introduced and talked to the Queen and Duke of Edinburgh who were easy to talk to. The President of the Battle Of Flowers' Association gave her permission to show it before the Battle Of Flowers took place and she used it in the Battle Of Flowers that year although it didn't win a prize and the Association said they couldn't give her a guarantee for it because it had been shown before but it was sorted out although she was upset and didn't exhibit for the next 2 years. Had an exhibit that became a design for a stamp, which was a float of ostriches. She later became allergic to glue. Told by Philatelic Bureau that her design was being used as a stamp-1s 9d. Third Record-Blue Danube. She makes a float by getting a book on animals, making a scene, for example, a jaguar with llamas, keeps the design in her head rather than drawing it, no help given to her-all individual work. She picks the grasses as soon as they're ready. Used to pick them at the sand dunes and now grows her own. Has to sew them each year. She makes her mind up on what the theme will be on christmas day and doesn't change her mind. The float is made from three quarter inch mesh chicken wire. On a horse and bison float-84,000 pieces of grass were used on each horse and 11,000 bunches of approx 20 each on the bison. All her spare time is spent doing things. She is not normally a patient person but enjoys doing it and never gets bored. She dyes the grasses before putting them on the float in a bucket on her gas cooker. Prefers making animals to human figures. She was especially careful when making a Jersey calf figure as she was asked to do so by the Société Jersiaise and she wanted to make sure it was right and kept checking. Fourth Record-Jimmy Shand-chose it because it has a good rhythm. She talks about her exhibits that went to Exeter for Jersey Tourism and Leeds. She went with them and got a good reaction from people as there is nothing like it in England. She went to Guernsey with the Pied Piper of Hamlyn and got first prize. Brought humour into her exhibit, the funniest was a donkey derby. The Battle Of Flowers is not as good as it used to be-early 50s used to be 80 or 90 exhibits-a lot more than today. The young people not interested. The parochial classes not as popular as they can't find a leader. Miss Battle of Flowers is a good idea and provides an extra exhibit. Visitors still very keen. New set up with the arch ways on the Victoria Avenue good. Pictures hanging in museum. Fifth Record-Mary Poppins-Chimchiminy. Went to the ball at the West Park Pavilion as a chicken and won first prize and the tortoise and the hare but she collapsed due to lack of air in the costume. She was unable to compete in the Battle Of Flowers this year because she has been in hospital, told to rest but she has an idea for next years float already. End of Side One. Personal View of Major John Riley. Born in Trinity Manor in 1925. His grandfather came to Jersey in 1908. His ancestry is from Yorkshire and later his grandfather moved to Cornwall and London and came to Jersey in 1908. He had an interest in islands and tried to buy Sark and move to Alderney but moved to Jersey. He was interested in architecture, by profession a theologian but had a love of architecture and took time and money rebuilding the manor which was near derelict when he moved in. The roof had to come off and it was reconstructed in a French style. The architect was Sir Reginald Bloomfield, a London architect. The manor goes back to 1550. It was the seat of the de Carteret family and was successfully restored and enlarged by de Carterets in 1660 and the 19th century. First memories of the manor were of his grandfather who was an imposing and a great church man-morning and evening prayers were in the chapel and many people lived there including 3 uncles and his father but mother died in an accident in 1928 but he had a largely happy childhood. In the 1930s he travelled around England as his father was in the army. It was a contrast to living in manor but it only struck him as odd later in life. Being brought up in a large house was not restrictive, the children had good fun and he had affection for certain parts of house. First Record-Carmen Jones. Schooling-he went to day school in Jersey, preparatory school in England and then school in Winchester when war broke out in 1939. He didn't enjoy school, he was not academic and not good at ball games but it was a good education. During World War 2 his grandfather was allowed to live in the Manor for the first 2 years, the grounds were used as an ammunition dump, later the garrison moved into the house and his grandfather moved to one of the lodges. House undamaged and well looked after. When he arrived back in the island day after the liberation the germans were cleaning the manor. Felt worried about being separated from the island and the only contact was red cross letters which were only 28 words long-had to be careful. Was registered by mistake as an enemy alien card in England. Ambitions-had it not been for World War 2 he may have had an academic career-unsure. Couldn't think of any other profession he would have done apart from the army. His grandfather wanted him to have a classical education, he was an academic man and had stood for parliament but didn't get in. Ended up in the Coldstream Guards-his father had been a member, he has no regrets as he lived with marvellous people. He joined in 1943 and was commissioned in 1944 and joined the forces in North West Europe as a platoon commander. He wasn't frightened of getting killed, the idea of coming home as a wounded war hero appealed, but he had a fear of being frightened. In general the sergeant runs the platoon as they have massive experience and the officers, who had more training, did the planning. He went to North West Germany and saw action for 9 days before he was wounded on 9th March 1945 and evacuated to a hospital in Nottingham 48 hours after. It was the last he saw of the second world war. After he went out to Palestine. They had been earmarked to go to Japan but the bomb was dropped before he had to go. Second Record-Underneath the Arches. He stayed in army for 20 years, working with nice people who trust in each other. He was in a brigade of guards and had a really varied time. Later he was involved in the administration of the army. When he was in the Coldstream Guards he talks about how they felt in full uniform, being very hot whilst on parade, standing still was tiring, he took part in the vigil when the king died. He served in Palestine between 1945-48, then back for 3 months then went out to Malaya for 2½ years which was exciting. As company commander he led a patrol of 14-20 men for a week-10 days in the jungle. His father was still in Jersey at this time and became a jurat in the Royal Court. He came back on leave from time to time. The Manor was not in working order till the mid 50s. When he came back he helped around the Manor. In his army career he became an instructor-dealing with officers in their early 30s who were destined for commanding positions. During the Seven Day War there was both an Israeli and Egyptian who were called back into service. Third Record-Glen Miller. Took the Coldstream Guards Band to America in 1954-for 12 weeks. 160 men would move into a hotel, play a concert, have dinner, go to bed and then move around-strenuous. He left the army in 1963, he was sad to leave but had two young children, schooling was a problem for serving officers. He came back to Trinity Manor, didn't know what he wanted to do, determined to find plenty to do. He took the dairy farm back and got involved in companies and then stood for the States. He decided to go in to politics because he felt he had a responsibility to the island and wanted to give something back. His experience outside of the island was of value. He had no ambitions as a politician-the States was more like local administration. Fourth Record-Noel Coward. Politicians work hard-especially becoming president of a major committee which holds almost a ministerial responsibility, you need to be able to communicate with people. Life going to become more difficult for people in politics. You could run the island with 20 people but would have to pay them, which is against what the island politics is about. Became President of the Defence Committee-linked to his background. Wilfred Krichefski asked him to join the committee and he was able to help because of his military background. It was not like the Ministry of Defence-more like a Committee of Public Safety. Decided to finish in politics last year as he had done 18 years and didn't want to go stale and stand in the way of other people. He wanted to clear the way for other people to be promoted and hopes people don't stay on too long. He has been able to develop Trinity Manor for people to have seminars as he has moved himself in to one end of the house and through this he meets interesting people through the functions and it keeps the Manor occupied. For relaxation he goes sailing during the summer and rides horses in the winter.
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