Becky Hindley - From soap star to flower girl

PUBLISHED: 00:00 09 December 2016 | UPDATED: 14:49 09 December 2016

Actress Becky Hindley gathers the last of the years flowers in the garden near her Warton home. Milton Haworth

Actress Becky Hindley gathers the last of the years flowers in the garden near her Warton home. Milton Haworth

Archant

Becky Hindley, once a tragic soap actress, has found a new way to make her career blossom. She spoke to Roger Borrell.

Actress Becky Hindley as Charlotte Hoyle in Coronation Street.Actress Becky Hindley as Charlotte Hoyle in Coronation Street.

Apart from the odd window box, you can’t imagine there was ever much opportunity for gardening in Coronation Street. Now, actress Becky Hindley is making up for lost time.

Becky is perhaps best remembered as Charlotte Hoyle, a ‘bunny boiler’ who came to a nasty end at the hands of serial killer John Stape. Life today couldn’t be more different for this Lancashire lass.

She is still acting when the right roles come along but they now have to fit in with the growing season. Becky has set up Picking Posies, a flower business started in the north Lancashire village of Warton with her friend, Cathy Wallbank.

‘I’ve loved gardening from a young age,’ says Becky. ‘My mum was the same and she passed it on to me. I’ve never been frightened to get my hands dirty – there’s something about connecting with nature.’

Actress Becky Hindley gathers the last of the years flowers in the garden near her Warton home. Milton HaworthActress Becky Hindley gathers the last of the years flowers in the garden near her Warton home. Milton Haworth

Becky, who also tends the garden at her own home in Warton, always found gardening the perfect antidote to the pressures of acting. She’s proud of her own veg patch and has a productive greenhouse where much is grown from seed.

She recently finished a tour of The Merry Wives of Windsor with Northern Broadsides. ‘Theatre work is going on hold a little – certainly tours which can mean you are away for eight weeks – while I set up this new business,’ says Becky, who was born in Eccles and grew up in Parbold.

‘Eight weeks is a long time to be away from your garden, especially if you are growing from seeds and need to do essential work like pricking out. I certainly haven’t given up acting – I’m just off soon to do some work in Brighton for BBC Radio 4. But a lot of weeds can grow in eight weeks!’

She set up Picking Posies up on land owned by Cathy, whose husband is one of the founders of the Old School Brewery in Warton.

Actress Becky Hindley gathers the last of the years flowers in the garden near her Warton home. Milton Haworth.Actress Becky Hindley gathers the last of the years flowers in the garden near her Warton home. Milton Haworth.

‘Everyone is talking about local meat, local vet and locally caught fish. I thought why not local flowers?’ says Becky. ‘There’s a huge movement involving seasonal British flowers.

‘We are starting up the business on roughly a third of an acre and the plan is to provide flowers for weddings and events, specialising in the sort of flowers you’d find in an English cottage garden.

‘Having said that, I’ve been foraging for pine cones and berries and I’m making Christmas wreaths like mad to pay the bills so we can buy seeds and bulbs for next year.’

When the flowers start to arrive next spring, Becky will be using them to create designs for special occasions such as weddings. ‘The designs will be unique,’ she adds. ‘I am quite creative and I have worked with flowers before.

‘When I left drama school in London I worked for a high end florist that specialised in hand held pieces and they even made a bouquet for Princess Diana. I also worked for the City of London Cemetery and Crematorium so I used to have to go to the market to buy flowers. And having an acting background means I’m confident communicating with clients and understanding what they want.’

Gardening is quite a contrast to the rigours of the stage. ‘It has also meant I’ve met a lot of like-minded people who are interested in what I’m doing and will offer to help or provide more space. It has done me a lot of good to use my brain in a different way. It’s a really exciting time – I’m enjoying very minute of it.

‘We are at the bottom of Warton Crag so it’s a good spot for growing, quite protected and the land used to be a market garden so things grow very well. I love working with nature.

‘Both Cathy’s family and mine have been a great help setting things up and My mum thinks it’s a great idea. It’s good to have a change of focus away from acting. Mum is always giving me tips.’

Becky’s blossoms have already been immortalised in paint. Renowned Arnside artist Tracy Levine went to Picking Posies to paint the garden and some of those pictures will be appearing in a major solo exhibition at Brantwood in Coniston next June. No doubt, some of Becky’s own living works of art will also be on show.

Becky is setting up a website at www.pickingposies.co.uk

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