World record attempt at Pendle’s Big Witch Event

Vaughan Jones, Coun. Paul White, Mike Williams and Maureen Stopforth gets ready for the Big Witch event in Barley.

Vaughan Jones, Coun. Paul White, Mike Williams and Maureen Stopforth gets ready for the Big Witch event in Barley.

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PENDLE is all set for Saturday’s Pendle Witch Walk that will include a bid for a world record, a concert and fund-raising for Pendleside Hospice.

The village of Barley is ready for a huge influx of witches as the area plays host to the Big Witch Event.

The bewitching event will include the Pendle Witch Walk, a Guinness World Record attempt and the Concert Under The Hill.

Coun. Paul White, who represents tourism in Pendle, said: “The Big Witch Event is part of our Pendle Witch Festival which marks the 400th anniversary of the trial of the Pendle Witches.

“We’re happy to be supporting the organisers of the Pendle Witch Walk, and to be complementing their event with an outdoor concert at the end of what promises to be a magical day. And, of course, there’s the attempt at a new Guinness World Record – why not grab a witch costume and join in?”

The Guinness World Record attempt was the idea of Pendle Council Tourism Officer Mike Williams. He said: “The Pendle Witch Walk is set to draw hundreds of people dressed as witches to Barley.

“It struck me that we might set a new record for the largest gathering of people dressed as witches. We need as many people as possible to come along and support our world record attempt.

“If you’re interested in getting involved, please make sure you wear a full witch costume consisting of an unbranded black floor-length dress, a wide-brimmed, pointed black hat, and have a broomstick. These are the stipulations for the world record attempt.”

The “witches” will be counted before they head off on the Pendle Witch Walk, a five-mile circular walk from Barley which takes in the summit of Pendle Hill.

The walk itself is a family event which has been organised to raise money for Pendleside Hospice.

The event is being organised by Simon Tattersall and Julian Jordan, organisers of the successful Pendle Pub Walk in 2010 and 2011.

Julian said: “The aim of Pendle Witch Walk is to mark the 400th anniversary of the witch trials with a family-orientated event that shows off the very best of Pendle – our glorious countryside, our magnificent hill and tumultuous history!

“We also want the event to be a major fund-raiser for Pendleside Hospice. All money raised from registration and sponsorship will go directly to the hospice.”

And, if that wasn’t enough, the spellbinding day will draw to a close with the Concert Under The Hill on Barley Village Green in the afternoon.

Hosted by BBC Lancashire’s Ted Robbins, the free concert will feature a range of bands performing different music styles. From a choral performance to a rat pack tribute, there’s going to be something for everyone.

Performers include Nelson’s Arion Male Voice Choir, Lancashire Sinfonietta, Leyland Brass Band, swing singer Russell Shaun, and Vicky & The Big Combo.

Priority entry to the concert will be given to anyone who has taken part in the Pendle Witch Walk. Crowd numbers for the concert must be limited for health and safety reasons.

Pendle Witch Walk’s latest corporate sponsor is North West home builder Keepmoat. Keepmoat will support the event with a presence in Barley on the day and will distribute goodies to some of the hundreds of walkers as they embark on the sponsored walk.

With hundreds of attendees expected in witch-themed fancy dress, organisers are confident they’ll claim the record!

David Wroe, new-build managing director of Keepmoat, said: “The walkers will be breaking a Guinness World Record, then the event culminates with food and entertainment. People visiting from outside the area will get to see what a beautiful part of the world this is, while marking one of the most prominent moments in Lancashire’s history.”

And Julian said: “We’re delighted to have Keepmoat on board as a corporate sponsor. They are a major regional homebuilder and they’ve been behind the development of some fabulous property within just a few miles of the route of Pendle Witch Walk. They are really enthusiastic about being involved and their involvement is going to enhance what is already set to be a superb event.”

Although online registration has closed, there will be provision for walkers to register from 8-30am on Saturday at Barley Parish Hall. All walkers are urged to attend in witch-style fancy dress (black, pointy, wide-brimmed hat; full-length black cape; and broomstick) to help break the world record for the biggest gathering of witches.

There are, of course, some costs associated with an event of this nature (food, T-shirts, booklets, etc.) so walkers are being urged to get as much sponsorship as possible.

For more information about the Big Witch Event - and other events in the Pendle Witches Festival - go to www.visitpendle.com or call Pendle Tourist Information on 856186.