Sara designs flowers umbrella for The Saturdays singer

Sara Collinge and her floral umbrella
Sara Collinge and her floral umbrella
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A LOCAL florist has hit the national headlines by designing a floral umbrella for The Saturdays singer Una Healy.

Sara Collinge of Flowers With Passion, based in Goosnargh, was commissioned to design a “plant-based” umbrella for a healthy eating campaign by Alpro. Una is the face of Alpro’s campaign encouraging Brits to eat more plant-based foods. They claim such foods can boost your mood and are better for you and for the planet.

Una Healy with the floral umbrella designed and made by local florist Sara Collinge

Una Healy with the floral umbrella designed and made by local florist Sara Collinge

“I got a phone call out of the blue from Alpro’s PR agency in London, initially asking if I could design a floral dress,” explained Sara, who for yeas ran a successful gift shop in Clitheroe before pursuing her dream of becoming a florist.

“They’d seen the floral dress I was commissioned to make for Harrogate Flower Show earlier this year. They then changed this to an umbrella and wanted a natural look using mostly garden foliage, tendrils and a touch of white and pale yellow flowers.”

Sara, whose floral designs previously won a silver medal at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show, first had to make a mock up version and send pictures to Alpro to ensure they were happy with the design. She then had three days’ to complete the umbrella and get it down to London for the celebrity photo shoot.

A private house had been hired for the shoot and Sara had no idea who the celebrity would be until Una arrived, as it had been a closely guarded secret. It was Una’s first photo shoot since her marriage to rugby star Ben Foden in June.

“To the amazement of staff and guests we arrived at a London hotel at 12.30 a.m. with buckets of foliage and flowers, plus the umbrella, which by this time had its first covering of leaves!” added Sara.

“London was so hot I couldn’t leave the umbrella in the car or the leaves would have curled up and died. Thank goodness the room was air conditioned! We turned it down as low as we could and went to bed with lots of clothes on! After three hours’ sleep I was up at 5 a.m. to finish the umbrella in the freezing cold hotel room.

“I had no idea the umbrella would play such a pivotal part in the campaign. I’d just assumed it would be a prop in the background so I was absolutely thrilled to watch Una modelling it and the photos were superb.

“It was an incredible day, but we then had to make the long drive home in 30 degree heat with no air conditioning in the car! We were exhausted but exhilarated!”

Since then Sara has been watching the publicity unfold – The Mail Online, Daily Mirror, BBC World News, MTV, and Metro have all featured pictures of Sara’s umbrella and she is keen to see where else it might appear.

“I’ve had an incredible year so far – first the Harrogate dress of many flowers, then reaching the Chelsea finals of the UK Florist of the Year for the second year running, and now the umbrella... I can’t wait to see what’s next!”