TRIBUTES have been paid to former Stourbridge florist Joyce Allaway who died from a cardiac arrest at the age of 84.

She lived in Osmaston Road, Norton, and ran The Flower Basket in Market Street, which she bought with her husband Ronald in 1973.

Her daughter Sally Beeching, who worked in the shop with her, said: "Mum was the eldest of seven children and I think her talent was nurtured by my grandparents. She trained with the prestigious Constance Spry before my grandparents bought her a business in Smethwick.

"Mum was a very accomplished florist. Her gardening was always her great love and I learnt the trade off her.

"She turned The Flower Basket into one of the top ten Inter-Flora florists in the country, which was quite an achievement.

"She had to sell the shop in 1997 when my dad became seriously ill and needed 24-hour care. They celebrated their golden wedding in 2000 and dad died four years later when he was 77.

"Mum's proudest moment as a florist came when she was contacted by Buckingham Palace to provide the flowers for Lord Cobham's funeral in 1977. At first we thought it was a bit of a wind-up, but the official cards arrived by special delivery the following day.

"We had to provide a specific tribute from the Queen in red, white and blue as Lord Cobham had been Viceroy of Rhodesia."

Mrs Allaway's funeral will take place at St Mary's Church, Oldswinford, on Friday July 25 at 1.30pm.