An "inspirational" mum-of-two who has launched her own floristry business is up for a top educational award after going back to college to study.

Emily Robbins is juggling a new floristry business based in Debenham, her young family and a floristry course at Suffolk Rural - the land studies arm of Suffolk New College.

The 29-year-old was persuaded to enter a competition run by Landex - an organisation which supports land-based colleges - and has now made it through to the finals.

As well as running Robbins Flowers she is studying for a level three qualification – having  completed a level two programme and a diploma - because she wants to hone her skills.

She was nominated by her tutor, Alison Liddiard and was then interviewed by the judges.

“Emily has had an amazing journey, juggling a career change and a young family while continuing her studies and setting up a business," said Alison. "She is truly an inspiration and we are so proud of her.”

Emily travels to Reaseheath College in Cheshire on November 22 to the prestigious awards ceremony which will be hosted by BBC Countryfile presenter Adam Henson.

Emily was deputy at a private nursery but after starting a family two children and the Covid outbreak she switched careers.

“I decided to focus on a career in floristry. I love it as it’s creative and it always reminds me of my grandma (Sylvia).

East Anglian Daily Times:

"We grew up in London but then my grandma moved to Norfolk and I used to love spending time with her in the garden. She passed away about 10 years ago.

"I think that she would be proud of me – not just because of the floristry but with the children and everything. Part of my logo has lavender as she used to have lots of lavender in her garden.”

The college has been "very helpful" and her tutor was "a godsend", she said.

"I learn not just about the floristry side of it but also the business side as well.

“The business is busy. You have peaks and troughs but I have someone working for me and I use a couple of freelancers.”

Craig Shimmon, head of marketing at the college, described Emily's story as "inspirational". "We are so proud of her and wish her well,” he said.

Winning the award "would mean the world", she said.

"I’m trying to teach my children that the more you put into something the more you get out," she said.

East Anglian Daily Times: “If I was to win, I’d thank the college, my family, my children and my husband who really encouraged me to open the shop and the business.

"All my family help out as delivery drivers and my children are often in the shop. My seven-year-old daughter calls it her shop. She is a better seller than me.”

She praised her village of Debenham for its support. "It’s a classic old traditional place. It’s a safe space for my children and what do they say – it takes a village to raise a child. I certainly feel that way. It’s a real community,” she said.