A RIBBLE Valley florist who set up her business a year ago is set to compete in the world famous Chelsea Flower Show.

Sara Collinge, 48, has made it to the finals of the Chelsea Florist of the Year category.

She will have to create a jockey 'silk' out of flowers and foliage alongside 15 other finalists at next week's Royal Horticultural Society show.

She said: ”A jockey shirt is naturally very soft and lightweight. Trying to make one purely out of flower and plant material is really going to challenge my creativity.”

And her creation will remain on display in the grand floral marquee for the final three days of the show.

Ms Collinge, of Church Street, said: “I’m overwhelmed, scared and excited all at the same time.

"It was always my secret ambition to get to Chelsea one day but I never in my wildest dreams did I expect it to be so soon."

Ms Collinge opened Flowers With Passion in Ribchester a year ago after running The Carmen Rose Tearooms in the town.

To qualify for the contest Ms Collinge took part in the British Florist Association hub meeting in Leeds in March – she came second beating several previous Chelsea gold medallists.

Normally only the heat winners from the meetings held across the country, get to Chelsea.

But Ms Collinge's high score of 90 out of 100 was enough to see her through.

Last year she scooped two trophies at Southport Flower Show, as well as taking part in the RHS Flower Show at Tatton.

She added: "I’m absolutely passionate about flowers.

"I seem to have spent half my life trying different things and although I’ve picked up numerous awards for my businesses nothing has ever meant quite so much as winning Southport last year and now getting through to Chelsea.

"I feel I’ve finally found my true vocation.”

She will travel down to Chelsea next Wednesday.