Pendleside Hospice preparing to smash Guinness World record attempt for 'largest gathering of people dressed as witches'

The largest gathering of witches in the world could be happening this weekend, fittingly in Pendle.

Pendleside Hospice intends to reclaim the Guinness World Record for having ‘The Largest Gathering Of People Dressed As Witches’ – a feat they held for 12 months in 2012. The present record of 1,607 is held by La Bruixa d'Or , in Sort, Lleida, Spain.

The world record attempt will take place this Saturday at Barrowford Park from 1pm during the Pendleside Witch Festival.

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The name of Pendle has become synonymous with witches ever since the infamous Pendle Witch trials of 1612 which resulted in 10 local people being executed by hanging.

Pendleside staff Leah Hooper, Karen Charlton and Elaine Middleton put their best feet and brooms forward for the sponsored Witch Festival walk

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    The campaign is being fronted by Emmerdale star Samantha Giles, who plays Bernice Blackstock in the ITV soap. She is attending with her husband and two daughters. Samantha, a follower of Wicca beliefs, is also a children's author and her first book was 'Rosemary and the Witches of Pendle Hill'.

    Pendle Witches expert and tour guide Simon Entwistle will also be in attendance.

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    Helen McVey, chief executive of Pendleside, said: “The WitchFest campaign is focused on creating a lot of family fun while at the same time bringing the witches’ world record back to its rightful home in this part of the country.

    “And, of course, our main aim is to raise at least £100,000 towards continuing the palliative end-of-life care; health and wellbeing services; and bereavement counselling services that we provide.”

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    Meanwhile, music will also be on the agenda.

    Elvis impersonator Andy Brown is part of the live music action that is taking place from 1pm to 8pm.

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    The acts – organised by Lee Rothwell, of Burnley Leisure and Culture, aim to cater for all tastes – young and old. And the day is brought to a close with the ‘undisputed pioneers of classic house and retro’ deejays Paul Taylor and Matty Robinson.

    Launching the festival will be the Barrowford Community Choir led by sisters Beth Shutt and Jane Burby who will perform a variety of contemporary songs.

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    During the count for the world record attempt starting at 3pm the gathering of people dressed as witches will be entertained by Forever Steel Band, Empower HQ and Basically Cheer.

    Before the event begins in the afternoon a circular sponsored walk is to be held between Barrowford Park, Barley and Roughlee.

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    During the festival visitors will enjoy a large children’s area, refreshment stalls, a beer tent and gin bar, face-painting and lots of other amusements.

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    Samantha Giles will be available to sign copies of her book Rosemary and the Pendle Witches.

    Tickets to the event are £15 for adults and £10 for children. There are also family tickets at a reduced cost. Included in the price is the official witch’s outfit of hat, cloak and broomstick.

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    Only people in the official outfit can be counted for the world record.

    For information on how to get tickets go to www.pendleside.org.uk/pendleside-witch-festival

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    The trials of the Pendle witches in 1612 are among the most famous witch trials in English history. The twelve accused lived in the area surrounding Pendle Hill. Of the eleven who went to trial – nine women and two men – ten were found guilty and executed by hanging; one was found not guilty.