DARWEN war veterans are to be given the freedom of the town through a new town council initiative.

Under the scheme, which was unanimously agreed at the monthly meeting of Darwen Town Council, veterans of the Second World War, Suez War, the Aden Emergency and Korea will be honoured.

The idea was suggested after council deputy chairman Trevor Maxfield saw a similar initiative being launched in Nelson and Earby.

The honour will be bestowed at a presentation in a couple of months time, and those given the freedom of Darwen will receive a tie and a badge bearing the Darwen crest.

Female veterans will receive a headscarf instead of a tie.

Coun Maxfield said the initiative would come at minimal cost to the council as there were not a lot of veterans living in the town.

He said: “It is just about giving something back to the people who have given so much to our community.

“I suspect the cost will be less than £1,000, but to be honest it is more about the honour.”

Coun Maxfield said he needed veterans to contact him so the council could put together a list and organise a presentation event.

He said: “I doubt whether there are many people left in the town who served in these wars.

“But it is important while these people are still with us that we recognise what they did.”

Second World War veteran Richard Westhead, 91, of Rydal Avenue, Darwen, saw action at Normandy just after the invasion of the French coast, and later served in Holland and went right through to Germany, where he was wounded by shrapnel.

He later served in Palestine before being demobbed.

He said: “It will be a very nice honour.”