Latest Magazine Best Kept War Memorial 2022 Head judge Bill Tait gives his top tips It’s not long until entries close for this year’s Best Kept War Memorial competition. There are seven categories you can enter, and we want to help you submit the best possible entry. Below, Bill Tait, head judge for Best Kept War Memorial, sets out his suggestions for achieving a winning entry in this year’s competition. He’ll be keeping a close eye on all this year’s contestants, in each of the following categories: Champion of Champions Large Community with Gardens Large Community without Gardens Small Community with Gardens Small Community without Gardens Satellite Memorials with Gardens Satellite Memorials without Gardens New Entry Category (memorials that have never been entered before) National All Categories (all non-members welcomed to enter) To get an entry form, speak to your Area Secretary or download it here. Entries must be submitted by 29 April 2022. Now, find out what Bill will be looking for when it comes to the judging. Maintenance The memorial is the prominent feature and is top of the list for scrutiny. Its design is not considered, but what is looked at are various features. What is the condition of the stone and brickwork? Is there any deterioration such as flaking, cracking, pointing or even weeds growing? The condition of any metalwork may need to be repainted and/or repaired. Clarity of the lettering must be clean and legible with any fading or weathering attended to. The base and surrounds should be clean, litter, graffiti and weed free. Litter, to my mind, includes old wreaths which are illegible and damaged and are a disservice to those who they are supposed to commemorate. A time limit ought to be imposed for their removal before they fall into such a state. These factors all contribute to the overall impression of the memorial. Access The ease of access to the memorial is imperative with smooth, even paths leading to it. Not all of us are fit and mobile so seating should be provided in close proximity, and it is important to have this in good condition. Plants Not every memorial can have a garden with plants but even the smallest can have pots, planters or hanging baskets. These will require constant maintenance such as watering, weeding and deadheading of flowers. Where there is ample space, borders containing plants may include seasonal bedding, although herbaceous perennials and shrubs make a valuable contribution. Seasonal weather patterns can affect displays; flowers may fade quickly or are held back by cold conditions. Weeds may grow. Some thought should be given to plant nutrients in the soil. Occasionally, rather impoverished borders are seen. Hedges and lawns Not every memorial has a hedge or shrubs. If you do have them, they require maintenance, trimming and removal of unwanted saplings and dead branches. I like to see neatly trimmed and edged lawns by the memorial. It is possible to have a weed-free lawn, but trends now encourage a natural appearance with wild flowers. Fair enough, but keep these at arm’s length! The Legion Scotland colours of blue and gold must be prominent in the floral displays, either in borders, planters or hanging baskets. Failure to include these results in lost points.