VISITORS to Upton cannot fail to have noticed the town looking its brilliant best over the summer months once again this year.
And much of the credit for that goes to the hard-working volunteer team of Upton in Bloom, who each year fundraise tirelessly to be able to buy, plant and maintain the colourful floral displays that are such a feature of the town.
While the focus of the In Bloom activities each summer is judging day - when experts from the Heart of England in Bloom campaign come to cast their eye over the town and all it has to offer - the work of the Upton in Bloom team is very much year-round.
With assistance in keeping the streets clean from Upton Town Council and Malvern Hills District Council, the In Bloom effort is headed up by a seven-strong committee, headed by chairman Jackie Surtees, a handful of volunteer helpers and horticultural adviser and plant supplier Brian Williams.
They were all on hand to welcome the Heart of England in Bloom judges for their visit, which has been hailed a resounding success.
Starting their tour at the Anchor Courtyard, they were taken to meet stalwart In Bloom supporter Barbara Hartley at her garden in Dunns Lane and then went on to Riverboats Children's Centre and Upton Primary School.
Other stops included Thomas Morris House, where judges were particularly impressed by the developments that have taken place over the past 12 months, and a chat with Hanley Castle High School students who have been involved in painting a new mural at East Waterside.
The tour ended at the Old Churchyard, where the community was out in force to give the judges a warm welcome.
Upton is a perennial gold award winner in the Heart of England in Bloom campaign and, after the successful judging, Mrs Surtees is hopeful of that run continuing when the results are announced at a ceremony in Shrewsbury on September 11.
"Judging went very well this year and the displays have been very good," she said. "The hot weather has been good for growing, but it has meant that more frequent watering has been required."
Mrs Surtees was particularly pleased with the support of the town on judging day - where residents, school children, representatives from the town and district councils, local businesses, the WI and the Royal British Legion were among those lined up to meet the judges.
"What a welcome the judges received," she said. "More than 90 children from Upton Primary School were present and singing songs from the First World War, and they and their teachers were dressed in costumes reflecting the era."
And it is not only the judges that are coming away from Upton suitably impressed.
"We have has lots of very positive feedback, from both visitors and residents," said Mrs Surtees. "Whenever we're working, deadheading in particular, there are always people who say how much they enjoy the displays."
Upton in Bloom is always on the lookout for more help or support. If you would like to get involved, call Mrs Surtees on 01684 592336.