A FLORIST from Nelson is in the running for a prestigious award given to those tipped to blossom into experts in their chosen field.

Milly Davey, who works at Going Dutch in Nelson, will represent the North West in the grand final of the Interflora Florist of the Future 2011 competition.

The 20-year-old, along with the nine other finalists, will be put through her paces in front of a live audience at RHS Tatton Park Flower Show, Cheshire on Sunday July 24.

She said: “I’m thrilled to have reached this stage in the competition and am both excited but a bit nervous too.

“However I know I’ve got the backing of all the staff at Going Dutch, many of whom regularly compete and have been really great in giving me hints and tips along the way.”

After joining a flower club at the age of six, Milly competed in the World Flower Show when she was just 14 She started work at Going Dutch after leaving school and has now achieved her floristry qualifications.

At the final Milly will have to create a rose-inspired bridal design, garden party hat, Japanese-themed free expression piece and a surprise item for the Woodland Trust dinner dance.

She will be able to complete one of the items, the bridal design, in advance of the competition.

But she will construct two of the other creations, the hat and free expression piece, within a set time limit and in front of visitors.

The youngster will be given just 50 minutes to interpret the surprise item brief, review the flowers, materials and tools available, and complete her design.

She said: “It’s been a challenging two years to get through the tough regional heats.

“There are so many talented Interflora florists out there so I’m thrilled to have reached the final of this major competition. I hope I can do myself proud.”