Water great idea for Padiham!

Padiham Town Centre manager Tony Fitzgerald with the original padiham Water Walking poster from the 1800s
Padiham Town Centre manager Tony Fitzgerald with the original padiham Water Walking poster from the 1800s

Padiham could be set to make a big splash with a World Waterwalking Championships.

Regeneration chiefs came up with the idea to put Padiham on the map and bring hundreds of tourists to the town.

The championships would see competitors racing along the River Calder in plastic “water zorbing” bubbles.

The idea was inspired by an 1800s poster by shopkeepers to draw in punters to Padiham claiming a man would miraculously walk across the river – believed to be why Burnley residents are disparagingly called “Waterwalkers”.

Now town centre manager Tony Fitzgerald, who dreamed up the idea, wants to turn the slice of Padiham’s history into a unique event to rival other towns.

He said: “We want to create a big event that is unique to Padiham. A World Waterwalking Championship would be wild. It would be a massive attraction.

“It could rival events like the Stacksteads World Gravy Wrestling or the Black Pudding Throwing in Ramsbottom.”

The idea is only in its infancy, but it could see challengers take to the River Calder in the huge plastic ‘bubbles’ and race the waterway through the town centre.

He added: “I was thinking if health and safety permitted we could run the event on the calm river. Spectators could watch from the bridge and along the river. It would be great.”