Bloomin’ great at the Anchor

The Anchor in Darwen has been named the winner of a pubs in bloom competition.
Thwaites Brewery organises the competition every year to showcase pubs that are drawing in visitors through their floral decorations.
It is open to all 230 Thwaites pubs around the country and six were shortlisted.
Lance and Melissa Montgomery, who run the pub, said: “We are over the moon to win this competition – it’s always hard for a pub the size of ours in a really urban area to compete with picturesque villages but we worked really hard this year to stand out.
“We have tried to create a wall of colour, adding height through the planters and hanging baskets above the door and then drawing the eye right to the floor with the coloured benches and flowers on each table.”
Thousands of plants and flowers adorn the front of The Anchor, making it really stand out to anyone passing by.
But it was not just the sea of colour that caught the attention of judge Toni Naylor, Thwaites Pubs Marketing Executive. She said: “The Anchor not only looks impressive, Lance has also thought through the sustainability of his display.
“I was really impressed with the fact that despite the size of the pub and the volume of plants, he has kept them looking immaculate by using rain water. Not a single drop of water from a tap has been used.
“And he is using a greenhouse through the winter months so that he can make sure the flowers are cared for and re-used wherever possible.
“There is no doubt that the size of the frontage of the pub is a challenge – it’s a vast area to make look so appealing – but Lance has added height and depth to the arrangements and painting all the benches has brought the whole display together.”
The display bought another challenge for Lance, when thieves stole the centrepiece just days before the judging took place. Taking pride of place on one of the coloured benches was a life-sized statue of Marilyn Monroe – a regular feature of the pub since she was introduced two years ago for a party.
Thankfully her absence didn’t hamper the pub’s entry, as it was declared the winner of the Pubs in Bloom competition yesterday.
Lance added: “It’s been a tough few weeks – not only did we have Marilyn taken but we have been battered by wind and rain, so our displays took a battering but despite it all the flowers just look so good – the amount of flowers could fill an entire transit van. And next year it will be even bigger and better.”
The Anchor won £1,000 of beer for taking first place in the competition.