Photos: Thousands flock to Pickwick Night festival

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Whalley’s annual Pickwick Night Festival has been declared a success by organisers despite heavy downpours falling towards the end of the night.

Preston North End footballer Joe Garner, who hails from Whalley, and charity worker Naomi Eastham from Billington, officially opened the 27th Whalley Pickwick night on Thursday.

Cobbles Vintage and Recycled Homewares. Photo by Ken Geddes. (s)

Cobbles Vintage and Recycled Homewares. Photo by Ken Geddes. (s)

The wet weather held off until the last hour of the festival failing to deter the 3,500-strong crowds of people who attended the attractions and stalls lining King Street.

Neil Martin, chairman of the Whalley Pickwick Festival Committee, said: “Lots of people turned up which was great as it didn’t start raining until later on in the evening.

“This year has been the largest event yet in terms of the number of volunteers, stall holders and those involved with organising the event.”

He added: “We’ve also had lots of positive feedback from people after the event which is always good when you’re organising an event like this.”

Headline act Kiki de Ville, who appeared on The Voice in 2014, performed on stage during the festival singing in a vintage swing/blues style.

Presentations were also made on stage to Martin Hay, who is stepping down from his position as chairman of Whalley Chamber of Trade. Gifts of thanks for his efforts were presented to Martin by the chamber of trade, the Whalley Pickwick Festival Committee and Whalley Lions for which he was one of the founder charter members.

Entertainment on the main stage was also provided by Ribcaged Productions while actors from Thwaites Theatre, Blackburn, recited Dickensian poetry. Other attractions included a reindeer and barrel organs.

Stalls selling a range of festive treats including Christmas decorations, festive wreaths and mulled wine to name but a few were present.

Accrington Pipe Band and Darwen Brass also performed in the village and Whalley Old Grammar School was open giving visitors the chance to browse the Local History Exhibition. This included Jean Lord’s special model display of how the main street would have looked in Victorian times.

Whalley Coun. Joyce Holgate MBE, who looked after the festival’s VIP guests, which included Ribble Valley Mayor Coun. Bridget Hilton and the new vicar of Saint Mary and All Saints Church, Whalley, Jonathon Carmyllie, said: “Everyone enjoyed the night despite the weather being atrocious. Everyone was in good spirits and that’s thanks to the hard work of the Pickwick Committee and, in particular, its chairman Neil Martin.”

Coun. Holgate has attended every Whalley Pickwick Night in its 27 year history apart from just two of the events.

Each year Whalley Pickwick Night Festival, which is organised and run by volunteers, raises funds for local good causes.