LAST year, well-dressers were greeted by bright sunshine. This year, by contrast, there were lowering clouds over the Malverns and occasional squalls to hamper their decorating efforts.

However, no-one was downhearted and the various teams set to work with a will, all determined to make their well or water feature the best of all and catch the critical eyes of the judging team.

The theme this year was 'Celebration', and this gave plenty of scope for the exercise of creative imaginations. One example was at Hay Slad, where Girlguiding Malvern created a tribute to 100 years of the Guide movement.

Divisional commissioner Patricia Robinson said that separate Guide groups across Malvern had contributed elements of the overall design, such as pebbles painted with Guide badges past and present, and pots filled with plants they had grown.

West Malvern Garden and Nature Club followed up last year's gold medal-winning creation at West Malvern tap with a homage to 25 years of the Spring Gardening Show.

Their decorations included plants and produce of the sorts that are exhibited at the show, with a three-demensional rendition of this year's show poster.

Over at the Wyche Spring, Sheila Maund made a celebration of the Celtic festival of Beltane, incorporating green man and green woman renditions and other symbols.

And the 150th anniversary of the railway coming to Malvern inspired at least two entries. At the Temperance Fountain in Worcester Road, Carl Burrows created an elaborate display that included coal as an example of the fuel that powered steam trains.

Over at Great Malvern station, the pupils of Malvern Parish Primary School used the Station Trough to create a little diorama with paper figures representing the different types of people who have visited Malvern, including famous figures such as Shaw and Elgar.