Oswestry will be hoping for a bloomin' wonderful summer as it prepares to do battle in the 2018 Royal Horticultural Society's Britain in Bloom awards.

The town is one of 76 across the country vying for one of 12 titles and is in the running for the 'Large Town' accolade after receiving its record-breaking 13th Gold award in the Heart of England In Bloom competition last year. It also took the Large Town title despite being one of the smallest in the category.

Betty Gull, chairman of the Oswestry In Bloom Committee, said: "We really feel that we have to do Oswestry proud and we are going to need a lot of help for that, people have to got to really pull together.

"We have got to keep the gold standard as an absolute minimum, but it is very exciting."

Oswestry will face Ballymena, Beverley, Bury St Edmunds, Colwyn Bay, Congleton, Penrith, Perth and Royal Tunbridge Wells in the 'Large Town' category, while close neighbours Shrewsbury will be hoping for a win in the Small City category.

Miss Gull added: "Our preparations are coming together, but this year we have got to up our game.

"We hope to tackle an alleyway in eastern Oswestry which hasn't been looked after so we are going to have a go at that and get local people to come and join us."

The judging is due to take place towards the end of July or beginning of August, however Heart of England judges will visit the town in July, while the annual Oswestry In Bloom Awards will also need to be scheduled: "We can't relax," added Miss Gull.

Darren Share, chairman of the Britain in Bloom judging panel said: “The Britain in Bloom campaign galvanises communities and provides the driving force for thousands of gardening enthusiasts across the country.

"Britain in Bloom groups work tirelessly throughout the year to tackle local issues and improve the place they call home. Everyone benefits from the work these groups carry out and I have seen first-hand the positive impact Britain in Bloom has had in bringing communities together.”