JUDGES were beaming as they walked through Upton to inspect flower displays as part of the Britain in Bloom competition.

Upton was selected to enter the horticultural competition after excelling in the Heart of England campaign last year.

Today (August 2) was the first time judges Darren Share and James Cordingley toured the town, but they were thoroughly impressed by the end.

Malvern Gazette:

COMMUNITY: A large number turned out to support the town in the competition.

Mr Share said: “We have had a very good tour. The town is looked after extremely well. There are loads of enthusiastic and committed residents here.

“They have done the village proud. What happens now is after the end of today we will start scoring and that score is then moderated.

“The score will be announced at the awards ceremony on October 14.”

Malvern Gazette:

JUDGES: Darren Share (left) and James Cordingley (right) inspected the town for the Britain in Bloom competition. 

The town will receive either a bronze, silver, silver gilt or gold award at the ceremony, with residents hoping to achieve gold.

Mr Cordingley said: “I like the village and was smiling a lot on the way around. The community support throughout the tour has been very good.”

The famous musician Benny Gallagher, of Gallagher and Lyle, played for the judges at the end of their tour.

John Raine, the chairman of Malvern District Council, said: “I’m here to represent the district council and to show support.

“Upton is an extraordinary place, it’s clean and green and despite being small, it sustains all these festivals.

“I want to say well done to Upton and the volunteers for getting this far, as this is step two of the bloom competitions.”

Mike Morgan, a district councillor representing Upton, said: “The flowers in Upton make visitors want to come back.

“It’s nice as a district to have the image of caring seriously about the environment.”

Malvern Gazette:

COUNCILLORS: Mike Morgan (left), John Raine (middle) and Andrea Morgan (right).

Upton’s Hot Peppers Women’s Institute were also attending to meet the judges.

Gemma Dewson, president of Hot Peppers, said: “We are here to show other people in the town our work and what we do.

“We have 40 members in Upton and have brought our tent with us today as well as our programme of what we’re doing in the next year.”

Ms Dewson, 33, who has been president of the group for two months, said she wants more young women to join the WI.

Malvern Gazette:

PEPPERS: Gemma Dewson (left) and other Hot Peppers members waiting to meet the judges and talk about their work.

“We have lots of fun, sometimes we drink wine not just tea and cakes. It’s a great way to make new friends,” she said.

“We raise money for local charities, get behind campaigns and serve as a support network for people.”

Tim Dance, the mayor of Upton, said: “The work that goes into the flower displays makes the town look welcoming.

“Jackie Surtees, chairman of Upton in Bloom, is fantastic. This would not happen without her.”

Malvern Gazette:

BEAMING: Jackie Surtees (centre left) and Tim Dance (centre right).