NEARLY 40 water features around the Malvern Hills will be decorated on Friday (April 30) for the annual well-dressing festival.

This year's theme is Celebrations, as 2010 is the 925th anniversary of the founding of Great Malvern Priory, the 150th anniversary of the coming of the railway, among other significant dates.

Lionel Butcher of Malvern Spa Association said: "We expect to dress nearly 40 sites this year, with no less than nine being done by children.

"Last year Hayslad was dressed by Guides so well that they not only won a gold award. but association chairman Dr John Harcup gave them his Chairman's Trophy as well.

"Then they told us that was only a practice for a really good one in 2010. We can't wait.”

New sites include Davenham House, the Healing Crown well in the Natural Health Centre, Abbey Road, and the Hay Well behind the Baptist Church, also in Abbey Road.

The winners will be announced during the Mayday celebrations in Priory Park on Saturday, May 1, and guided minibus tours are on Monday, May 3, with tickets £5 from the TIC, Church Street, where maps are also available.

There will be an interfaith blessing ceremony at 11am at St Ann's Well on Saturday, and an interfaith pilgrimage to seven dressed sites leaves from outside the Post Office at 11am on Sunday.

There will be another blessing on Monday at Evendine, with Father Pat Kilgarriff of St Joseph's. At 3pm the same day, there will be a Druid ceremony at Hayslad.