LUDLOW has proved to be like the Klondike when it comes to gold.

For the fifteenth time in 17 years the town and its small army of volunteers have been awarded a Gold Medal in the Heart of England in Bloom competition.

Not only this, but the results announced in Burton-upon-Trent mark the fourteenth consecutive year that Ludlow has taken a gold medal in the competition that involves towns from all over the Midlands.

But this time there was a lot of doubt and a real fear that the ongoing success would come to an end.

“I was very apprehensive this year because we had new judges who had not been to the town before,” said Vivienne Parry, who leads the Ludlow in Bloom Group.

“There was also the problem caused by the very hot and dry summer that made keeping plants and flowers looking fresh for the visit from the judges in July a problem.

Mrs Parry, who is both a member of Ludlow Town Council and Shropshire Council, puts the success down the army of volunteers and also to a bowser that was purchased and put to use for the first time this year.

“The bowser was very important in helping us to keep the plants watered,” she added.

“Pushing it around the town in all the heat was hard work but without it, things would have been so much more difficult.”

The Heart of England in Bloom competition has changed over the years and now community involvement is a very important part of the judging process.

Children and students from Ludlow Secondary School, Ludlow Infants and Junior Schools, Clee View School and the Bishop Hooper School in Ashford Carbonell were involved in helping to secure success.

The people living at the Whitefriars development were also an important part of the jig-saw as the facility was host to the judges at the end of their visit.

A lunch that followed a three-hour tour of the town included a menu made up of locally produced food and drink.

The judging took place in July and so there was two months wait to hear the results.

Mrs Parry is keen to play down the prospects of a Gold in 2019.

“We started all those years ago with a Gold award followed by a bronze and silver gilt,” she added.

“Since then it has all been Gold but we must never be complacent and take anything for granted.

“With every passing year it gets harder because we always have to think of something new and different.

“There is also the burden of expectation and it would be too easy and wrong to think of anything that is not Gold as a failure.”

Planning for 2019 has already started even before the 2018 blooms have all died away.

Ludlow Town Council supports ‘in bloom’ with an annual grant.