TAUNTON Flower Show has bestowed a unique honour on retiring chairman Bob Homeshaw following a record-breaking year.

Bob Homeshaw was announced as the event's first ever patron at a social evening at Monkton Elm Garden Centre attended by more than 100 volunteers.

He received a certificate in recognition of his contribution from his successor as company chairman, Adrian Prior-Sankey.

Mr Prior-Sankey said: "Bob has served the show and its remarkable team with distinction for over 13 years.

"He has chosen to step down from his position as chairman of the company and charity after one of the most successful shows in modern times.

"So much of the success is directly attributable to his inspirational leadership and hard work and it was the unanimous decision of the board of directors to establish a significant title for such a unique contribution.

"As the first patron and a life member, along with his wife Pauline, who has supported him admirably during his tenure as chairman, we are confident that Bob will continue to make sure that our event retains the respect of horticultural enthusiasts and the support of the wider community."

Mr Homeshaw, who enjoyed a distinguished military career and was bursar at Wellington School for a number of years, took up the chairmanship in 2003 and was instrumental in reforming the country's longest-running flower show.

He worked carefully to modernise the annual event in Vivary Park without losing the essence of its horticultural charm, introducing innovations such as Designer Gardens and Ready, Steady Garden!.

The directors have also appointed three new board members - Anne Leamon is director of trading, Nigel Handbury takes charge of membership development and Stephen Froud heads up volunteer development ahead of next year's show in Vivary Park on Friday and Saturday, August 4 and 5.

This year's show attracted a record 2,612 entries, up from 2,319 last year, while attendance was close to the 2015 record of 17,500 visitors.