WATCH out Blackburn, Bertie the snowman is on his way.

The UK’s biggest inflatable snowman will take up residence in Blackburn town centre on Friday and the special guest who will get the first chance to have a go on the bouncy castle with a difference will be four-year-old competition winner Lewis McLeod.

Lewis, from Darwen, won a competition, run in conjunction with Blackburn with Darwen Council and the Lancashire Telegraph, to name the giant inflatable.

HIs choice of Bertie was picked by a panel of judges from scores of entries and as part of his prize Lewis will be bringing his class mates in the reception class from Ashleigh Primary School, Darwen, to have an early Christmas party.

As well as bouncing around on the biggest bouncy castle in the country – Bertie stands a whopping 49 feet high – the class will also get a visit from Santa and some special goody bags and seasonal snacks.

Mum Susan said: “When Lewis said he wanted to enter the competition I said he needed to pick a name beginning with B for Blackburn. He came up with Bertie and when we looked at the pictures he thought that the snowman looked like a Bertie.

“He’s really excited about the party on Friday and so are all his classmates.”

Bertie will be officially open to the public from Saturday until January 4 and will operate seven days a week from 10 to 6pm (later on late night shopping nights).

It costs just £1 a go for children and up to 25 youngsters at any one time can have a bounce on Bertie.

Councillor Dave Harling, executive member for regeneration, said: “After the exciting switching on of the Christmas lights, the site of this massive snowman in Blackburn town centre should get everyone even further into the Christmas mood.

“It is going to be a lot of fun, there has never been a bouncy castle like this in the area. I hope as many families as possible come down to enjoy it. It’s a big attraction that will further enhance Blackburn’s appeal to shoppers, visitors and residents alike!”

For details of all festive events in Blackburn and Darwen, visit: www.visitblack