PLANS have been unveiled for a community canal festival to held in Blackburn for the first time this summer.

Following a successful a event in Burnley last year, organisers have been given the go-ahead to hold their own along the Leeds and Liverpool canal in July.

The free event, centred on Eanam Wharf, will include dozens of decorated barges, children’s events, boat trips, kayaking, street theatre and crafts stalls.

Bill Charnley, chairman of the Blackburn Canal Festival committee, said: “I’m sure there’s huge support from people who have used the canals for work and pleasure here.

“People who worked at the mills and in the wool industry have fond memories of travelling the waterways. I’ve lived here 27 years and I think it’s a travesty that we haven’t done something before to celebrate and commemorate it. I think Blackburn’s a great place and I’m doing everything I can to get this off the ground.”

In order to be able to hold Blackburn’s event, which is planned from July 20 to 22, organisers need to raise £5,000 in corporate sponsorship by June.

The committee also have to received clearance from the Canal and Rivers Trust and the borough council that the event will be safe for people to attend.

Coun Damian Talbot, executive member for culture, leisure and young people, said: “Residents organising events and festivals for the benefit of the community is something that should be applauded.

“It is this kind of community-minded volunteering that helps bring people together especially when times are tough and we need something to lift our spirits.”

Burnley’s canal festival will take place between September 13 and 15.