Historic banner set to be restored in new home

The Downham Banner
The Downham Banner

A cash windfall means a unique piece of the Ribble Valley’s history can be restored to its former glory and put on display in a brand new home.

A grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund will pay for the conservation of the Downham Banner which dates back to 1885 when it was made by the Skerits of Bury to commemorate the Centenary of the Downham Benevolent Society.

Led by volunteers from the local Downham, Twiston and Chatburn community launched the Downham Banner steering group in 2013 to focus on the conservation and display of the banner. And it is set to be moved from its current home in the organ loft of St Leonard’s Church, Downham, to the People’s History Museum in Manchester where an expert conservation team will restore the banner to its former glory ready for it to go on display to a much wider audience.

The banner depicts the Parable of the Good Samaritan and rather than it just being a relic of the past on display it will be used to have real relevance today asthis will be the theme of the educational programme which will be rolled out in local schools, spearheaded by Chatburn Church of England School.

Commenting on the award, Tom McLean, Leader of the Downham Banner Steering Group, said: “We are thrilled to have received the support of the Heritage Lottery Fund to help us save a bit of Lancashire and we are particularly pleased that the project will benefit young people who will now have the chance to learn about the message of the banner and an important part of local history and the Friendly Society Movement.”

Ribble Valley MP Nigel Evans said “Everyone in the Ribble Valley should be grateful for the support that the Heritage Lottery Fund have given to the volunteers behind the Downham Banner project. We should all try to follow the example set by the Good Samaritan and using the Banner as a teaching aid will benefit pupils of all ages and help bring the story to life.”