VAL Knight (1930-2019) was a talented artist, very accomplished photographer, lover of nature and an avid gardener.
Often on club excursions she could be seen, camera in hand, searching for "the right line" or "the correct light" or "the perfect position" to enable her to create an artistic photograph. She loved nature in all its forms and liked nothing better than a photographic expedition in the bush.
In the early 1990s Val moved from the Blue Mountains, where she had a wildlife park, to Wattle Flat and then to Eglinton. There, with her good friend Nola, Val established a garden which reflected her love of nature.
In Bathurst she became a foundation member of Bathurst Gardeners' Club and was very proud that it was called a "gardeners' club" not a "garden club" because she believed very strongly that the mission of the club would be about the people.
Val was a committee member for 12 years, vice-president for three and president for three, and was honoured with life membership.
Renowned for her straightforward method of expressing her opinion, she was often a "ground breaker" with new innovative ideas.
She was the originator of the Bathurst Garden Competition and "convinced" Jock Thompson, who had a nursery behind the Royal Hotel, Phil Cole from radio station 2BS and Brian Wood from the Western Advocate to join her.
She then formed a close relationship with Miss Traill's House as a venue and the Holy Trinity Ladies as caterers.
The garden competition was very successful for a number of years raising money for local charities. She also originated the idea of a giant plant stall at which club members sold their plants, donating one-third of the profits to Miss Traill's House.
Val became quite well known for her ability to propagate clematis plants and there a many people in Bathurst today who can point to a Val Knight clematis.
When the garden competition appeared to be losing its momentum she was initially opposed to the idea of replacing it with a Spring Spectacular Garden Weekend, displaying gardens without competition, but she gradually became committed and even organised the weekend for a few years.
Val will be remembered in Bathurst for having originated the event which has grown into the highly successful Spring Spectacular, and the giant plant stall, both of which continue to grow in stature.
Each year they provide enjoyment for Bathurstians and attract many visitors from NSW and other states, raising thousands of dollars for local charities.