THE full programme of events to be staged during The Queen’s visit to Blackburn on Maundy Thursday has been revealed for the first time.

The royal party is due to arrive at the town’s railway station at 10.45am where they will be driven slowly down the Boulevard and Church Street to the cathedral for the historic service.

During the private, ticketed event on Thursday, April 17, 88 men and 88 woman from the diocese will be honoured by The Queen Following the service, in keeping with Royal Maundy tradition, The Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh are due to spend time with religious and civic dignitaries.

This will take place at Ewood Park, however there will only be a very limited oppourtunity to see the royal party at the venue.

The cathedral has been working with Blackburn with Darwen Council and The Royal Almonry in London to ensure the event runs as smoothly as possible.

The Royal Maundy is an ancient ceremony which can be traced back to the fourth century.

It seems to have been the custom as early as the 13th century for members of the royal family to take part in Maundy ceremonies, to distribute money and gifts, Coun Kate Hollern, leader of Blackburn with Darwen Council, said:

“We are lucky to have The Queen coming to Blackburn Cathedral and happy to support on all the preparations for this special occasion.

“It’s also right that we put effort into making it as big a community celebration as possible.

“It’s going to be a happy and memorable day which will go down in history. In true Blackburn spirit the community is stepping up to make sure we have the town looking as good as possible for all the visitors.

Canon Andrew Hindley, who is co-ordinating the cathedral arrangements, said: “Our preparations for this historic service are now moving in the final stages.

“The music and hymns have been chosen, and the cathedral is being made ready over the next few weeks.” The Director of Music at Blackburn Cathedral, Samuel Hudson, said: “For the majority of us who will be performing at the service this is our first Royal occasion, and certainly the first involving The Queen.

“For that reason alone there is a real buzz about the place and everyone is really looking forward to the event.”