Whalley prepares for Pickwick Festival

Sophie Holgate declared Pickwick Night in Whalley officially open with her mother, Angela.

Sophie Holgate declared Pickwick Night in Whalley officially open with her mother, Angela.

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The finishing touches are being put to preparations for this year’s Whalley Pickwick Festival.

The festive event, now in its 26th year, will be held next Thursday, December 4th, and will be officially opened by historian and ghost walker Simon Entwistle, who will be joined by VIP guests and dignitaries.

In recent years, Pickwick night has attracted approximately 5,000 visitors.

This year various activities and entertainment are planned to attract more people than ever from far and wide.

Attractions during the evening extravaganza, which will last from 6 to 9 p.m, include entertainment by Clitheroe-based theatre company Ribcaged. There will be a wide range of stalls selling seasonal fare, including hot food stalls, mulled wine, gifts and charity stalls.

Traders will be dressed in Dickensian costumes, while the re-formed Whalley and District Lions will sell mulled wine.

And Santa is allowing some of his reindeer to come to Whalley for the evening.

The gold medal winning Whalley In Bloom team, which is already raising funds for the 2015 competition, will be present.

Other events being held in conjunction with Pickwick Festival include “Stalls and Santa” at the Methodist Hall in King Street; the Valley Voices Choir performing at the Old Grammar School building; and bell ringing and refreshments at the parish church in Church Lane.

Mr Neil Martin, chairman of Whalley Pickwick Festival, said: “Please come and support the event. The organisers who are a small group of local volunteers who run the event to kick start the Christmas celebrations in the village.

“Money raised by the festival is given to local good causes. People who benefited from last year’s event are Inbetween Ears, the Whalley and Billington Royal British Legion, Whalley in Bloom, a local young resident Naomi Eastham, who is carrying out volunteer work in Sri Lanka, and many others.”