A PUB in Darwen has been named the winner of a national pubs competition.

The Anchor, in Darwen, walked away with first prize in the annual Pubs in Bloom competition, which showcases pubs that draw in visitors through their floral decorations.

Organised by Thwaites Brewery, the competition is open to all 230 Thwaites pubs across the country, with each pub being entered into a regional heat before the winner goes on to compete against five other regional shortlisters.

Lancaster And Morecambe Citizen:

Landlord, Lance Montgomery, who runs the pub with his wife, Melissa, 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 the Darwen pub stand out, but it wasn't 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.

"And he's using a greenhouse through winter 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 and Melissa have added height and depth to the arrangements and painting all the benches has brought the whole display together."

Lancaster And Morecambe Citizen:

Just days before the judging took place though, thieves stole their centrepiece - a life-sized statue of Marilyn Monroe.

Thankfully her absence didn’t hamper the pub’s entry, as it was declared the overall winner of the competition.

Mr Montgomery 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 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.