The new Mulberry Tree together with a plaque in Priory Park, near the site of the original which blew down in a storm in the year 2000, was unveiled by Di Foster from Malvern, Melbourne. A series of associated events planned for the day ended with an evening of food and general celebration at the Mount Pleasant Hotel. Di with the tree and plaque is pictured left.
This event in the summer of 2016 also prompted interest in the many Malverns around the world and was the seed of the project that became known as Malverns Worldwide. The project was in due course to have significant ramifications across the globe.
Other events in 2016 included the findings of research into the demise of the West Malvern Spa building. This was apparently due to a structural defect that resulted in the beams supporting the floors and roof rotting. Also Marienbad in the Czech Republic aroused interest. Here the Singing Fountain was explored to see if such a creation had potential in Malvern, England. This trip coincided with the Malvern Civic Society twinning with Marienbad.
By October 2016 the Malverns Worldwide project was formulated and the tracking down and contact with Malverns across the globe ensued. This project aimed to extend the hand of friendship to all who were associated with the many Malverns world-wide. Their history invariably tracked back to Great Malvern in England where the Malvern religious establishment and community was created at the time of Edward the Confessor, just before the Norman Conquest. The story of the creation of the original Malvern was translated from the medieval stained glass windows in the Malvern Priory. Significantly a visit by envoys Cora and Bruce to Malvern, New York resulted in the establishment of 19th October as Malvern Appreciation Day; a celebration that has been continued ever since.
Early in 2017, Cora and Bruce celebrated their 25th anniversary of working on the springs and wells and more recently Malverns Worldwide. Over that time they had published extensively on the water sources of the Malvern Hills having researched and categorised over 130 sites of specific interest. Their latest investigation was the earlier gold mining on the Malvern Hills which had possible relevance to the development of Malvern, Johannesburg in South Africa, now a major gold producer.
The year 2017 saw other events that promoted Malverns including a visit to Malvern, Pennsylvania. Here a formal greeting by the mayor and the local senator cemented a relationship that was to perpetuate for many years. It was also pleasing to record that the Tank House in Colwall, once on the site of the Malvern Water bottling works, had survived as the central focus of a modern housing estate. The efforts at getting the building listed as a significant historic edifice had resulted in a forward plan that gave it prominence in a modern context. As the year progressed Barbados was welcomed into the Malverns Worldwide project with the Malvern House and plantation. The state flag of Malvern Pennsylvania was also flown from the Great Malvern Council Offices on the 19th October to celebrate Malvern Appreciation Day.
By May 2018 concern was once again increasing about the state of the springs and wells around the Malvern Hills. Each year Well Decorating was a very successful event early in May. In spite of this, deterioration and contamination of springs and water sources caused concern. Animal contamination was often the cause, especially after a dry period followed by rain when contaminated surface water entered the fountains and spouts. Public interest versus the health and safety issues needed a careful balance in dealing with this major unique resource for the Malvern Hills region.
Another significant event in 2018 was the securing of planning permission for the building of a Lodge within the Malvern Hills District Council area. This was intended to offer accommodation to overseas visitors coming to Malvern as part of the Malverns Worldwide scheme.
Following earlier contact with Malvern House and plantation in Barbados we received a request for a cutting for a George Bernard Shaw Mulberry Tree for planting. We were delighted to arrange for three cuttings from the Malvern, Melbourne tree to be duly delivered for rearing on the Caribbean Island. As part of the Malverns Worldwide project, in 2018 contact was made with Malverns along the historic Lincoln Highway in the United States. Malvern Iowa has since become an enthusiastic active member of the project. Mulberry Pie was also on the agenda and a recipe from Malvern Iowa resulted in pie parties in England to try out variations of the recipe.
Early in March 2019, extensive building proposals and development around the Malvern Hills resulted in concern for the long term environmental impact on the Malvern Hills. In conjunction with High Street Malvern, a proposal was formulated and published to establish the region at large as a National Park. Bruce's experience in the 1990s at the University of Sussex with investigating the implications of the possible South Downs National Park was invaluable in developing a proposal. By promoting the concept of national park status it was seen as a way of resolving many issues of major concern relating to the conservation of the wider region around the Malvern Hills. The bi-monthly Friends Newsletter was by now up to number 80 and proved a superb means of communicating with everyone with an interest in Malverns and as a result gauging reactions to such a proposal as a Malvern Hills National Park.
March 2019 also saw the formal planting of the George Bernard Shaw Mulberry Tree at Malvern Great House Barbados. In the picture June Cheesman who owns the house assists the Director of Barbados National Trust to formally plant the tree during an open day attended by over 300 visitors. Six formal proclamations and declarations were received from Malverns elsewhere congratulating June on the planting.