THE centenary of the start of the First World War is the inspiration for the Peace theme of this year's Well Dressing Festival.

The festival, thought to be the biggest of its kind anywhere in the country, will see over 40 wells, springs and other water features around the hills and the town being decorated by dedicated and creative volunteers.

The wells will be viewed by a panel of judges today (Friday) and the winners of the gold, silver and gold awards will be announced on Saturday, May 3, at a ceremony in Rosebank Gardens.

Organiser Lionel Shorstone said: "Our theme enables those who wish to remember 1914 to do so while those whose feeling about war is ‘let’s not do that again’ can take other perspectives. This year, as ever, people have come up with some wonderful creations."

Well-dressers this year include families, schools and Scout and Brownie groups as well as individuals.

One site that is being dressed for the first time is the water pump in the yard at Harper's Bazaar, the government surplus store at Worcester Road, Malvern Link.

Cora Weaver of Friends of Malvern Springs and Wells said: "The yard site was chosen because not only has it got a water feature - an old pump - but also a gun that came off a warship.

"In the past, the decorated water features have been better seen in the daytime but ours is different; it will be designed to be seen at night through the bars of a black iron gate fronting Worcester Road. The tableau will depict the destructiveness of war and the better option - peace."

On Sunday at 11am, there April there is a multifaith service at the Abbey Gateway with a procession with donkeys and on Monday, there will be a Druid ceremony at Hayslad Spring.

A map of the sites is available from Malvern Tourist Information Office or can be downloaded from

Minibus tours are also being laid on: for details, visit the tourist office or the website.