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Churches battle to save Padiham Whit Walks

Mounted police lead the Annual Procession of Witness through the streets of Padiham.   A190611/1d

Mounted police lead the Annual Procession of Witness through the streets of Padiham. A190611/1d

The future of Padiham’s historic Whit Walks remains in the balance as church leaders desperately seek funding to keep the tradition alive.

The traditional Walks of Witness, which have seen church-goers parade through the town centre for more than a century, were plunged into doubt after Lancashire Constabulary bosses refused to fund policing for the event.

Padiham church heads now face having to foot the bill for traffic management at the parade for the first time in more than 100 years.

Vicar of Padiham the Rev. Mark Jones, of St Leonard’s Church, hoped funding could be found to stop the Victorian tradition being resigned to history. He said: “We really hope it can carry on. It is getting harder and harder work to keep it going, which us a shame.

“It would be a shame to see the tradition die out.

“The police have refused to police it so we are having to find a traffic management company. We are trying to find out how much it would cost.

“We really don’t understand why the police cannot police it. The local bobbies would be more than happy to do it but it has come from above that it is too expensive.

“We are hoping we will be able to get grants to pay for it.”

The decision was taken by police chiefs last year to stop policing Whit Walks because of “significant resource implications” in attending the events.

Lancashire Police confirmed it was the responsibility of event organisers to ensure the safety of those taking part. The procession may take place on June 15th.

 

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