Each year in Malvern, many wells are dressed for the May day Bank Holiday weekend. There are at least 200 springs and spouts around the Malvern area, and those which are most accessible are decorated in various styles, by local groups and individuals. A theme is chosen by ballot, and for some years, St Matthias’ CE Primary School, part of The Spire Learning Trust, has taken up this challenge, weaving the theme into their curriculum.
The chosen theme for 2022, the 26th Well-dressing, was Literature, which the staff and children have adopted enthusiastically, with each class choosing an appropriate book and creating spectacular models, pictures and written work. The school always dresses Lord Sandys’ Spout which is near enough to take a group of children to help erect the actual decorations in the area around the well.
Year 5 focused on the ‘Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe’ by C.S. Lewis and created a large wardrobe ready for the well, Year 6 wrote imaginative pieces linked to ‘Journey’ by Aaron Becker with a photo booth. Year 4 chose ’The Magic Faraway Tree’ by Enid Blyton and Year 3 ’Alice in Wonderland’ by Lewis Carroll.
Year 2 chose ’A Squash and a Squeeze’ by Julia Donaldson. Year 1 enjoyed creating an interactive game linked to their book ‘The Jolly Pocket Postman‘, by Allan and Janet Ahlberg, and the Early Years Team focused on ‘The Three Little Pigs.’
Wells are judged and awarded Gold, Silver or Bronze certificates, and this year, the children were delighted to hear that they had been awarded a ‘Gold’.
They were also awarded the Lionel Shorstone trophy, which commemorates a previous organizer of the Festival and is awarded to the best children’s dressing. Lionel had worked hard to promote the wells and the Well-dressing, and, especially, had encouraged schools and young people to take part. Winning this trophy was a very special accolade, as two of the pupils at the school are Lionel Shorstone’s great-grand-daughters.