Whalley couple step back in time for orphanage open days

Paul and Sheena Byron, dressed as the founders of Blackburn Orphanage, James and Jane Dixon.
Paul and Sheena Byron, dressed as the founders of Blackburn Orphanage, James and Jane Dixon.
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A RIBBLE Valley couple have received Victorian celebrity status by appearing on the front of a magazine produced by locally-based charity Child Action Northwest.

Sheena and Paul Byrom, of Whalley, dressed up as the founders of Blackburn Orphanage, James and Jane Dixon, for the charity’s big summer Victorian-themed Pound Day fund-raiser in June. Now they are doing it again this weekend for a national Heritage Open Days event at the former orphanage in Wilpshire, now the charity’s headquarters.

Sheena, who recently received an OBE for her services to midwifery, explained: “I have been fascinated to find out how the charity was founded and how it developed the services it now provides to support children and young people today.

“Paul and I absolutely loved doing the Pound Day event and we were thrilled to be asked to do a walkabout again. Though it means that Paul has to grow his beard again to look like Mr Dixon!”

Across the country, venues not usually open to the public will allow people to come in and discover their heritage. The iconic Victorian building on Whalley Road, Wilpshire, dates back to 1904 when it was built as the second of two children’s homes which were known as Blackburn Orphanage.

The building is open to the public this Saturday and Sunday, September 8th and 9th, from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. There is no charge to enter and children can take part in lots of hands-on-history activities.