A FRIENDS group for Darwen Tower has been reformed thanks to the help of one of the town’s most influential businessmen.

A group that had been launched under the chairmanship of former town councillor Stephen Potter folded earlier this year.

But after Darwen Town Council decided to form a new group, Steve Hartley, owner of WEC in Junction Street, has agreed to be its chairman.

Mr Hartley, who has been involved with numerous civic projects in the past and donated a new tower dome made by his apprentices after the previous one blew off in high winds, said: “I am going to put it back on track.

“I will chair it as long as I need to but I will stay involved with it always.

“You get these little committees and they all want to do a good job but they do not have the proper infrastructure.

“It just needs a bit of pressure and that is what I want to do.

“I am a doer and I just want to pull it all together for the good of the town.

“It is a lovely monument and it is what makes Darwen unique so we need to make this work.”

Town councillor Simon Huggill is acting secretary of the group but said that once it got on its feet, there would be an election where members of the public can take it over.

He said: “I have said I do not mind being secretary for the time being.

“What I wanted was to make sure we did not lose the funds it already had.

“What we need to do now is spend some time on getting some credibility for the group and then open it up to the public to vote on who will form the committee.” Coun Huggill said the group was still formulating a plan on what projects needed to be taken care of.

He said: “I heard there was a leak in the tower so perhaps that could be one of our first projects.

“I want to look at the quality of signage and the paths as well as the tower itself.

“But all we want to do is kick-start it back to where it should be and then hand it over.”