THE town of Malvern in the American state of Iowa is the latest participant in the Malverns Worldwide project.

Cora Weaver and Bruce Osborne, who founded the project, have just returned from their first visit to the town, which is located in Mills county, Iowa, in the south-west of the state, and bordering Nebraska.

Mrs Weaver said: “We were very warmly welcomed when we recently visited the small town, which nestles among extensive fields of corn and soya beans.

“We were astonished to find, on a wall inside a health and well-being establishment, an old GWR poster advertising Great Malvern.

“On an interior wall in the library was a silhouette of a lion and a gas lamp, promoting the library director’s interest in C S Lewis.

“Library director Rebecca Bassich now has a new Malverns Worldwide section in her library and is proudly displaying images of several of Great Malvern’s gas lamps.

“Each December, she holds a Dickens evening and was flabbergasted to be told that it was in our Malvern that Dickens’s wife received the water cure and he wrote the one-act play Mr Nightingale’s Diary.

“Rebecca’s great love, however, is J R R Tolkien and she now has an image of the Unicorn pub, where Lewis and Tolkien used to meet.

“Two residents drove us around the suburbs of the town and out to the cemetery where we learned of the history of Iowan Malvern.”

Presents were given and received and residents of the town presented Mrs Weaver and Mr Osborne Bruce with two Malvern plates.

These have now been presented to Cllr Andrea Morgan, chairman of Malvern Hills District Council.

Malverns Worldwide is an initiative to bring about active friendship towns called Malvern across the globe.

It is masterminded by the Friends of Malvern Springs and Wells from Great Malvern.

Malverns abroad include over a dozen in North America, two in the Caribbean, six in Australia and New Zealand, and five in Africa.

Two years ago, a mulberry tree was planted in Priory Park, a gift from Malvern in Adelaide, descended from a tree planted by playwright George Bernard Shaw to celebrate his 80th birthday.