ANCIENT wells and spouts across Malvern will once again be awash with colour this May Bank Holiday weekend.

On Friday (May 2) people across Malvern will gather up flowers, ribbons and garlands and indulge in a spot of well-dressing, a Celtic tradition dating back hundreds of years.

The Malvern Spa Association already has promises to dress water sources from more than 30 groups of people this year, including seven children's groups.

Wells to be dressed include The Holywell, St Ann's Well and the West Malvern Tap, while the Spa Association and Malvern AONB's flagship' project, the newly-restored North Malvern Clocktower is also being included, with the public being offered a first opportunity to enter its lower water-chamber.

Organiser Lionel Butcher hopes to add even more water sources to the list, and is still on the lookout for dressers for sites including the Hay Slad spout. Anyone interested in getting involved should call Mr Butcher on 01684 560098.

This year's well dressing festivites remember Dr John Wall, who memorably said that Malvern Water is famous for "containing nothing at all", and displays will be themed around the health-giving and healing properties of Malvern water accordingly.

All of the wells will be judged on Friday, and then remain decorated until Tuesday, May 6. Those wishing to view the wells can either collect their own map from the Tourist Information Centre (TIC) in Church Street, or sign up for one of two guided minibus tours running on Bank Holiday Monday, May 6, leaving from Belle Vue Island at 11am and 2.30pm.

The tours will be guided by Spa Association chairman John Harcup and Malvern Hills Conservators chairman Ray Roberts, and tickets cost £5 from the TIC.

Prizes for the best dressed wells will be awarded during a special ceremony in the Priory Park bandstand on Saturday, May 3, and several local churches will offer prayers of thanksgiving the following morning.

There will also be a service of thanksgiving at St Ann's Well on the Saturday, conducted by Malvern Interfaith ministers in memory of Rev Susan Halliday, who had been due to lead the service before her recent death.

An Interfaith pilgrimage' to dressed sites takes place on the Sunday, departing from the Malvern Theatre steps at 10.30am.