THE Ludlow in Bloom group has issues an SOS for volunteers to help to make sure that plants for the coming season are in pots within a week.

A cold spring means that the planting is well behind schedule and Vivienne Parry, who leads the ‘in Bloom’ group, is worried that the town could see its run of 16 consecutive gold awards come to an end.

The town has been taking part in the regional ‘in Bloom’ competition for 20 years.

In that time it has achieved 17 gold awards, 16 of them in succession until 2019, the last year in which the contest was held. It was cancelled in 2020 because of Covid-19.

In the earlier years there were also bronze and silver guilt awards.

Mrs Parry says that the late planting, plus a change to how the competition will be judged this year, puts a question mark over the chances of success again.

“It has been a very cold spring and this means that the plants are behind,” said Mrs Parry.

“We are three weeks behind where we would normally be and this means that the plants will need to be put in quickly.

“The only consolation is that it will be the same for everyone.”

But the change to the way in which the competition will be judged is another factor that is more difficult to determine.

Normally, each town submits a 16 page dossier with photographs and two judges pay a visit in July.

However, because of concerns about Covid-19, this year the judging will be entirely based on the portfolio.

“It will not be the same this time, as the judges will not be able to come and experience the atmosphere of Ludlow,” said Mrs Parry.

Normally, the judges come for a tour, followed by lunch, at which they meet volunteers and people from the town.

“I entirely understand that this year, it is not possible to be sure what, if any, restrictions there might be at the time of the visit,” Mrs Parry added.

However, the concern is that words and photographs do not tell the full story.

Mrs Parry said that having the town looking and smelling fragrant has probably never been more important.

“The shops, pubs, restaurants, cafes and attractions have had such a tough time in the past year that everything that helps tourists and locals to enjoy Ludlow is essential to the prosperity of the town,” she added.

Anyone who wants to volunteer to help with the planting can call Mrs Parry on 01584 873604.