‘Coronation Street’ star to open Whalley Pickwick Night

Malcolm Hebden
Malcolm Hebden
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Whalley villagers have began counting down to the now famous annual Pickwick Night festivities.

This year the three-hour extravaganza celebrates 25 years of the famous Dickensian-themed event.

And once again the village will be transported back to the 19th Century for the evening, which will feature sights and sounds of a Victorian Christmas along the main street and surrounding roads.

To mark the occasion, special guest Malcolm Hebden, aka “Coronation Street” busybody Norris Cole, will officially open the festival at 6 pm on Thursday, December 5th.

Joining Malcolm will be Dave Moretta, a former soldier who ran 18 marathons in 18 days to raise money for the Royal British Legion.

Both Malcolm and Dave will be in the company of other VIP guests and dignitaries.

Plans are well under way to reflect and celebrate the 25 years of the annual festival, which began in 1988.

The event in recent years has attracted thousands of visitors – both young and old – from far and wide and a range of activities are planned to ensure the crowds come back again this year.

Attractions include live festive music, acts and entertainment (including some for children), Dickensian street theatre and more than 35 stalls ranging from ones selling gifts, cards, Christmas fare, festive and hot foods plus games and tombola.

As usual, stallholders and traders will don Dickensian outfits and shops will remain open on the night selling Yuletide gifts and treats.

Mr Neil Martin, co-chairman of Whalley Pickwick Night Committee, said: “We are delighted to celebrate this annual event.

“The focus will be the community spirit, raising funds for many local good causes and charities. Many local groups are supporting the celebrations including Blackburn Lions, Whalley in Bloom and the local churches.

“Bell ringing, singing, good food and mulled wine are being planned by these groups to bring a festive atmosphere to Whalley.”

The Whalley Pickwick Committee is a voluntary run organisation which arranges and hosts the Pickwick Night festivities.

Any profit made on the night is put back into the local community through supporting good causes and local good needs.

The Pickwick Festival will begin at 6 pm until 9 pm. For more details log onto www.whalleypickwick.org.uk