A PERENNIAL gardening show which almost died off 30 years ago is now in full bloom and set to celebrate its 100th anniversary tomorrow.

The Hurst Horticultural show came close to extinction when it was cancelled in 1983 because of a lack of volunteers, but that is the only year it has missed since 1902 and the crowds will return to Hurst Village Hall.

To mark the occasion long-serving chairman Major Terry Bunyard, who saved the once sprawling show from extinction in 1985 by significantly scaling it down, will step aside after decades of dedication.

Major Bunyard said: "We want a real celebration of all those past shows. Some horticultural shows have had to close, but we are fortunate in still having good entries for our fruit, vegetables, flowers, flower arranging, cooking, preserves, art, photography and children's classes."

The event - once dubbed Berkshire's greatest holiday show - used to boast military, wresting and parachute displays but is now a more intimate affair.

Major Bunyard said: "We're inviting everyone, wherever they live, to come just to enjoy the day. Special classes for flower arranging, children's painting, photography and a centenary birthday card all mark this, the 100th show. There will also be cream teas under the apple trees, the Waltham St Lawrence Band, a beer tent, Hurst's famous alpacas, craft stalls and a plant raffle."

The highlight of the show is the hotly contested men's apple flan cooking competition. Last year's winner, Hurst resident Keith Attfield, cooked up a storm to scoop the celebrated crown and said: "It's taken seriously and is very competitive, but it's also good fun."

The show will take place at the village hall, in School Road, and opens at 1.30pm. For more information, including the show schedules, visit www.hursthorticulturalshow.org