Sarah blooms in relay

SARAH Sammon was blooming with excitement as she carried the Queen's Baton in Swan Hill on February 16.

Sarah Sammon was among the 19 batonbearers to carry the Queen's Baton in Swan Hill last week. Picture: PAMELA BLACKMAN

Sarah Sammon was among the 19 batonbearers to carry the Queen's Baton in Swan Hill last week. Picture: PAMELA BLACKMAN

If she had her way, the Murraydale rose farmer would have had petals scattered along a section of Campbell Street where she carried the baton in recognition of her business innovation.

Ms Sammon was one of 19 batonbearers selected to carry the Queen's message in the Heart of the Murray. 

Ms Sammon and her mother Jan Slater founded Simply Rose Petals in 2004 from the family farm at Swan Hill. They grow one of the largest rose petal farms in the southern hemisphere, with more than 6000 rose plants in 50 colours. 

Growing up on her mother's rose farms in Melbourne and later Swan Hill, where the roses were only grown for cut-flowers, Ms Sammon had no plans to become a rose farmer.

She studied science at university and then travelled overseas for three years as a ski instructor before she returned and turned her attention to developing new ways to make money from the 1000 rose bushes her mother had in the ground.

Ms Sammon said it was a "tremendous" honour to be selected as a batonbearer. 

"I've always been an avid sportsperson and player and also involved in the community since the age of 12," she said.

"The opportunities we get in this town, despite its size, you cannot believe it and to have the baton come through is very exciting.

"It's great to inspire, especially if you look around at the kids who are just so excited to see the baton come through, and maybe one of those kids will go on to compete in the Commonwealth Games themselves."

Despite a sporting background in tennis, kayaking and eventing, Ms Sammon believes she was nominated because of her successful business innovation. 

Ms Slater was also a batonbearer in Robinvale. 

"We had a talk from the organisers about how the Commonwealth Games are the 'Friendly Games', and so I think it's very appropriate the baton has come through here because when I think of Swan Hill it's a great place with friendly people, beautiful weather and lots of opportunities to create that relaxed lifestyle," Ms Sammon said. 

She said she felt nervous ahead of the relay, but admitted she was overcome with emotion as the occasion reached into her hands.

"Every day you go about your work and doesn't feel like anything out of the ordinary, you just do the best you can," Ms Sammon said.

"It wasn't until the last 10 metres of my relay leg when I actually regained composure and wasn't feeling as overwhelmed by the situation."

Ms Sammon added one of the main reasons she decided to start the rose petal business was in hope she could save enough money to return to eventing and realise an Olympic dream. 

"It's an expensive sport, so I said I would get the business going for two years, and once established I would be able to go off and do more eventing," she said.

"But it took about nine years to find the time and finances, but I got back into it a few years ago and have been competing until my best performing horse passed away in November last year, so for the moment I'm re-evaluating."

Ms Sammon has been recognised as one of Australia's leading young business women, securing a 2006 Churchill Fellowship and 2014 Nuffield Farming Scholarship. 

In 2015, she received the Veuve Clicquot New Generation Award for an Australian business woman under 40.

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