SNOOKER sensation Shaun Murphy will be on cue as he officially kick-starts Whalley Pickwick Night celebrations tonight.
The 2005 world snooker champion will descend into Whalley in his role as an ambassador for the Paul Hunter Foundation, a snooker charity set up in 2006 by three-time Masters champion Paul Hunter shortly before he lost his battle against cancer aged 26.
The charity’s aims are to provide free snooker for able-bodied, disadvantaged and disabled young people up to the age of 18.
Shaun will be joined by popular Whalley residents Norman and Christine Atty, who will have run The Dog Inn for 20 years next April.
Pickwick Night, which is celebrating its 23rd year, will be held tonight between 6 and 9 p.m.
Whalley has an annual Dickens of a good time as it soaks up the sights and sounds of a Victorian Christmas during a mammoth festive street fair.
The place is transported back to the 19th Century for the annual festival, with crowds of people flocking from far and wide.
Brass bands, steam organs, fire-eaters, jugglers and school choirs have all been part of the line-up in previous years. The local shops stay open until 9 p.m., with staff dressed in Victorian-style dress as they sell Yuletide gifts.
Live music will be provided by local rock group Revisit (with a lead singer who is a Blackburn-born vicar currently a dean in Wales), solo singer Amanda, who preformed last year as a member of the Seraphins, and a 12-year-old guitarist called Reece.
In addition, visitors will have a chance to play Shaun as there will be a snooker table situated in King Street. Shaun will also take time out to switch the lights of two family homes in Limehouse Avenue (just off Station Road) in Whalley, a popular attraction for visitors to the Pickwick Night festivities.
Neil Martin, chairman of Whalley Pickwick Committee, said: “We are delighted to present this event once again in Whalley and would like to thank Shaun Murphy and Chris Lovell (Whalley resident and head of the world snooker coaching team) for helping organise the snooker attraction at this year’s event and to Shaun for helping in officially opening this year’s event.
“We would like to thank everyone involved including Whalley Chamber of Trade, local businesses and individuals who have come forward this year to make this event happen.
“I personally would like to thank the committee members who dedicate their time all year on the planning and success of this fantastic local festival.”
The Whalley Pickwick Committee continues to support local charitable and good causes throughout the year. The committee has helped many good causes in 2011 from the funds raised from last year’s event.