Thorpe florist Barbara Tabor looks back on 50 years of business

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Published:
06:30 11 May 2022



She has provided bouquets for three generations of families, buttonholes in the Canary Islands for the glorious final victory of the 1985 Milk Cup and even received an order from Her Majesty.


Barbara Tabor, 83, from Thorpe St Andrew, has owned florist Constance Websters for 50 years.
– Credit: Kate Wolstenholme

But after receiving a check to cover the Queen’s order, Barbara Tabor decided not to cash it, but to keep it as a keepsake.

Barbara turns 50 at the helm of Constance Webster Florists, Spinney Road, Thorpe St Andrew, 50 years after taking over from the former .


Barbara Tabor, 83, of Thorpe St Andrew, has owned Constance Websters Florist, for 50

Barbara Tabor, 83, from Thorpe St Andrew, has owned florist Constance Websters for 50 years.
– Credit: Kate Wolstenholme

Reflecting on her career, Ms Tabor, who grew up in Lakenham and now lives in Thorpe, said: “I started working here in 1972 after walking into the shop to buy flowers for a friend. Ms Webster suggested that she needed a van driver.”

After just over two years delivering bouquets all over town, she moved into the studio and spent four years training in the art of floristry before becoming the new owner in 1978 when Mrs Webster took over. retired.

“I love this place and I love the people here. As long as my health is good, I will stay here.

“I can’t sit at home. I would go crazy,” Ms Tabor said.


Barbara Tabor, 83, of Thorpe St Andrew, has owned Constance Websters Florist, for 50

Barbara Tabor, 83, from Thorpe St Andrew, has owned florist Constance Websters for 50 years.
– Credit: Kate Wolstenholme

She added that the business also kept her going after her husband’s death in 1988 and that she and her staff were very particular in flower arranging.

“I have clients who have bought their wedding flowers from me and have since made their children’s and grandchildren’s wedding flowers.”

She added that she treats all customers equally and originally thought the call from a Buckingham Palace official asking for an order of 12 yellow roses, costing £9, from the Queen to a patient from Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital in February 1980 was a practical joke.


Barbara Tabor, 83, of Thorpe St Andrew, has owned Constance Websters Florist, for 50

The check for the bouquet of flowers commissioned by the Queen in 1980
– Credit: Kate Wolstenholme

But she soon realized it was a real order for whom she believed to be a member of the Queen’s staff.

Ms Tabor added: ‘I felt proud and remembered the bouquet, wrapped in a yellow bow, as clear as day.


Proud Norwich City manager Ken Brown with the winning spoils Photo: Archant

Norwich City manager Ken Brown with the Milk Cup trophy in 1985 while wearing a buttonhole made by Barbara Tabor and her team
– Credit: Paul Hewitt

The grandmother and great-grandmother, who can work 10 hour days, were also proud to make over 20 yellow carnation buttonholes for Norwich City players and staff for the Milk Cup final 1985 at Wembley Stadium.

And although she runs a florist, she often doesn’t have flowers at home, adding, “I see them every day.”

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