Wednesday, February 28, 2024

Flora’s ‘Little Pot of Sunshine’

9-year-old girl’s prize-winning “little pot of sunshine” conserve goes on sale in Fortnum & Mason after beating 3,000 others in the world marmalade awards; 99-year-old’s grandson meanwhile claims marmalade helped her beat coronavirus

Guardian readers regularly marvel about marmalade. In 2020, they sent scores of letters to the paper about marmalade and longevity and in April that year they also even referenced a 99-year-old whose grandson believed she’d beaten COVID-19 by eating marmalade sandwiches.


Now, going to the other end of the age spectrum, the paper shared news late last week that a 9-year-old child, Flora Rider from the Isle of Wight, has become the youngest ever winner of the world marmalade awards.


Having “impressed the judges with her marmalade made from Seville oranges and orange blossom from her local supermarket… which was made on only her second attempt” and beaten off other amateur and professional makers also, Rider’s conserve has now gone on sale in Fortnum & Mason.


Commenting of the winning entry, the ritzy store’s website now is offering the creation and shares of it:


“Selected from over 3,000 entries from all over the world, Flora Rider’s Seville Orange & Orange Blossom Marmalade has been crowned the winner of the 2021 Dalemain Marmalade Double Gold Awards.”


“Described by 9-year-old Flora as a ‘little pot of sunshine,’ this joyous jar is bursting with fresh citrus notes and a bright and honey-like flavour. Seville oranges harmonise with subtle hints of orange blossom water to create a delicately floral spread. Finely cut and light in colour, this marmalade pairs perfectly with breakfast pastries or dolloped atop fresh yoghurt.”


“Flora’s homemade marmalade has been commercially produced and will be exclusively sold at Fortnum & Mason and Dalemain throughout the year – with 50p from each jar going to Hospice at Home Carlisle & North Lakeland.”


Speaking of her victory, Rider told the Guardian:


“[I was] very excited, over the moon and really amazed to have won the prize.”


“I enjoyed shredding the peel and filling the jars, but best of all I enjoyed eating the finished marmalade. I liked the thought of adding flowers to my marmalade, so using orange blossom seemed like a good idea. The taste was very nice, with a lovely floral and honey flavour.”


To order Flora Rider’s marmalade – priced at £5.95 for a 340g jar – click here. Also available from the store is last year’s winning entry, Jonathan Hamel Cooke’s Dark & Chunky Marmalade – also priced at £5.95.


Rita Reynolds marmalade coronavirus
In April 2020, nonagenarian Rita Reynolds of Bramhall, Stockport’s grandson told the ‘Guardian’: “I don’t know how she got through [and recovered from coronavirus]. I don’t think she has ever eaten a vegetable or fruit. She lives on marmalade sandwiches and biscuits. But she’s never smoked or really drank.” Mrs Reynolds is plainly like a cat with nine lives. In the Second World War, aged 21, she supposedly refused to go into an air raid shelter “because she wanted to read her book.” She instead hid under a table at her home in Liverpool and amazingly survived when a bomb landed right outside.
Flora Rider beat off over 3,000 entries from 30 countries around the world – including Canada, the Czech Republic, Australia, Japan, Kuwait and Brazil – to win the 2021 Homemade Marmalade Awards. Of her entry, the judges declared: “A first time marmalade maker, Flora and her family, like so many in the UK, decided to get creative in the kitchen during the winter lockdown – with phenomenal results! Her entry absolutely bowled over the judges and was unanimously declared the winner, not just of the Children’s category, but of the whole competition.”
Going further of the winning entry, Dalemain declared: “Flora’s winning marmalade was ideal for the ‘floral’ feel of the day, and organisers hope it will be the perfect accompaniment to a gorgeous summer ahead.”
Matthew Steeples
Matthew Steeples
A graduate of the London School of Economics, Matthew Steeples is a writer and marketing consultant. He conceived The Steeple Times as a media arena to fill the void between the Mail Online, The Huffington Post and such organs as the New York Social Diary in 2012.


  1. What a delightful young lady, and congratulations, Flora.
    A truly heart-warming story, also the news about Rita.
    Really happy to read such good news, and thankfully a far cry from the usual political nonsense currently cramming the media at both ends.


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