A brief glance at any of the records an journals of the North of England Pansy and Viola Society will give the reader some hint as to the knowledge, skill and dedication of Ray Frost.
The majority of members will not have had the good fortune and pleasure, as I have, to have met and conversed with him. However, many will have the benefit of his years of patient breeding in their gardens. Varieties such as 'Betty', ' Alma' , 'Pam's Fancy', 'Tina' , and 'Woodlands Lilac' , '- White' and '- Cream' to name but a few. A florist of impeccable standards, dry humour and gentle manner, he was the acknowledged expert on the subject of violas and pansies, a fact recorded by Ruth Duthie in her book 'Florists Flowers and Societies'.
The records of the Southport Flower Show give testimony to his exhibiting prowess, and as a judge at our Annual Show in years past he displayed a keen and exacting eye, his comment on viewing what I thought to be my finest seedling to date has always stayed with me. After picking up the bloom (Fancy Pansy 'John Goddard') and preening and dressing it to his satisfaction, he announced "Aye, well you've got the colour, but it wants another 1/2 inch. Work on it!"
However, there was much more to his life: a veteran of the D-Day landings and peacekeeping in Palestine, a keen artist in both oils and water colours, with his wife Betty a much travelled cyclist and finding another use for his keen eye on the bowling green, it is clear that he was an active gentleman of boundless energy.
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