A TOWN has celebrated the return of a special species of rose which “vanished” for almost 30 years.

The Pride of Maldon rose was commissioned in 1991 to mark the 1,000th anniversary of the Battle of Maldon.

More than 1,000 were planted around the town.

But most had vanished until resident Dorreen Flint put an appeal in the Standard in 2016.

To her surprise, two women came forward.

They had purchased the rose in 1991 and both still had bushes in their gardens.

Dorreen, who has lived in Maldon for more than 40 years, has been on a mission to re-cultivate them ever since.

Four years later, Dorreen claims the roses are almost ready to be replanted.

She said: “Being involved in Maldon in Bloom for the past ten years, I naturally became interested in the roses, so it became important to me.

“It just popped into my head – why don’t I try and find out about this and get them back for the town?’

“We have only got a very limited number of roses, but we are hoping to propagate them in summer.

“I was so pleased that two people came forward – otherwise none of this would’ve been possible.

“It’s quite a historic rose within the town and would be a shame if they were to go.”

After taking some cuttings, Dorreen went to Harkness Roses, the original cultivators of the plant. They were able to regrow it after trial and error, and hope it will be ready for replanting this summer.

Dorreen added: “It’s taken 18 months to two years to come to something that can be planted.

“I feel quite excited to get a bit of our history back again and we just can’t wait to see it flower.”

Mayor Flo Shaughnessy, town clerk Jane Coleman, members of the Maldon Society and trustees of the Maeldune Heritage Centre all gathered to celebrate in the town hall.

Wendy Munnion, Margaret and Brian Day, and the two residents with surviving roses, also attended.

In 1986, Wendy Munnion came up with the idea that a rose should be incorporated into the 1991 Maldon millennium celebrations. She sponsored the cultivation of the rose and was involved with the sale of the original bushes.

Margaret and Brian Day entered a competition in 1988 to give the rose a name.

From the 87 entries, ‘Maldon’s Pride’ suggested by Anna Blackwell and Cannon Brian Mahood and ‘Pride of Maeldune’ suggested by Margaret and Brian were chosen.

The names were combined to make Pride of Maldon.