WHEN shall we, er, six meet again? Monday morning at Walpamur, they agreed.

And when the witches did roll up for work they were waving their rosette for best float at the Darwen Carnival of 1958.

It was all a bit too realistic, however, as Mavis Aspden, as she then was, recalled.

She remembers it particularly because the float was got up with real grass and rocks and one of her pals, Edna Hornby, cut her finger quite badly on a sharp rock as the parade lurched off.

"Blood was dripping off her and she was asking the St John's ambulance people and anyone who would listen if they had a plaster or a bandage, but everyone just laughed and thought it was part of the show.

"The judges might have thought so as well and that's why we won."

Edna finally got patched up before she lost too much blood.

Mavis reckons the noses stole the show - as well as the dripping blood, of course.

Ben Kirkham who worked in the Walpamur office and lived up Ivy Terrace, used all his experience in Darwen amateur dramatics to craft the life-like conks.

"You really couldn't see the join," she grinned.

The other witches were Marie Brannigan, Eva Holden, Marion Heath and Kathleen Gee, recalls Mavis, who is now 84.

Everybody has a different take on exactly when Darwen Gala got under way. Most folk reckon the 60s while others plump for a few years earlier.

Confusion about the name of the annual show doesn't help but it was certainly going strong almost 50 years ago as Darwen Carnival when this photo was taken.

In those days the procession of floats started along Ross Street by Whitehall Park and finished at the Anchor ground.

Nowadays the gala procession starts at the Anchor and finishes on land at Borough Road.

In the 50s and 60s just about every firm in Darwen decked out one of their lorries to join in the fun.

Some drivers borrowed wagons for the day and whole streets set to work to make a mark – and to get one over on the neighbours in the next street.

Mums and aunties spent hours making colourful costumes.

The standard was first class but not many groups went as far as dripping real blood all over their float and the rest of the crew.

As brave Edna explained, as she finally got some treatment: "All I could think of was that the show must go on. "I tried to get some help but everyone cracked out laughing. Even the other witches weren't too sure if I was really hurt."

The current Darwen Gala is held on a Saturday in late August and attracts hundred of local folk to a wide variety of stalls, bars and entertainment.