BACK in 1992 Ebbw Vale was the place to go, when the Garden Festival Wales came to town.

These festivals were an initiative by the then Conservative government in response to criticism of their alleged neglect of areas hit by the decline of heavy industry.

The first was held in Liverpool in 1984. Others were in Stoke-on-Trent (1986), Glasgow (1988), Gateshead (1990) and Ebbw Vale Garden Festival (1992). The festivals attracted millions of visitors from all over the country to industrial areas long ignored by British tourists.

Ebbw Vale was the last festival and was held on the waste land which had been the Corus Group steel and tin works, part of which had been demolished in the early 1980s. As well as gardens, plant exhibitions and fairground-style attractions, the festival also featured a funicular railway.

Our picture shows Cliff England, who abandoned Mediterranean hotspots in favour of a 'better holiday' nearer home in 1992.

And he visited the Ebbw Vale garden festival more than 100 times.