There were red faces at the Ordnance Survey last night when the Worcestershire town of Malvern appeared on maps of England and Wales for the first time in its 900-year history. This was apparently the direct result of a vow by Cher Lloyd, a 17-year-old girl from the town who is the bookies' favourite to win The X-Factor, to 'put Malvern on the map'.
Malvern is a series of linked towns with a population of nearly 30,000. It has an 11th century Benedictine priory and is reported to have been a popular Victorian hydrotherapy centre. A classical composer who was apparently quite well known in his day, Sir Edward Elgar, is buried in one of its churches. Despite this, map makers had hitherto completely failed to spot the town.
'This is a most embarrassing episode and I am profoundly grateful to Cher Lloyd for her public-spirited actions,' commented James Neill, director general of the Ordnance Survey. 'In our defence, though, nothing of interest had ever happened in Malvern before she went on TV a few weeks ago.'
In a statement, Malvern Hills District Council noted that its previous appeals to be included on maps had been ignored. 'We are delighted to be noticed at last,' said council leader Roy Arbuthnot. 'I don't care if she does look like an inverted mop dipped in black mascara that just had a tarantula die on its eyes, young Cher is still one hell of a cartographer.'
However, the Ordnance Survey also revealed that it still has no plans to put Liverpool on any of its maps, even in the event of Anfield-born songbird Rebekah Ferguson winning the X-Factor. 'We're perfectly well aware that Liverpool exists, we're just not including it on anything,' said Neill. 'We do have some standards, you know.'