A UNIQUE designation for Pendle could be lost unless campaigners and traders rally round, council bosses have warned.

Back in 2003 the borough is said to have become the first in the UK to be given Fairtrade accreditation.

In the early days the authority had no difficulties in persuading 18 outlets to sell Fairtrade products – and environmentally-conscious coffee and tea were also served at town hall meetings.

But council deputy chief executive Philip Mousdale has reported at a management team meeting that the Fairtrade group has now dwindled to just two or three members turning up on a regular basis. The last acknowledged quarterly meeting was last November, when a new chairman was supposed to be nominated.

Mr Mousdale said in his report: “There is a need for the borough to be re-accredited as a Fairtrade Borough as this was last done in 2011 and it was required to be done every two years.”

The borough has been in discussions with the Fairtrade Foundation and been told that an application could be submitted but the approach would need to be undertaken relatively quickly.

Council chiefs have signalled their desire for the Fairtrade group, which has included borough councillors, parish councillors and residents, to continue and maintain Pendle’s proud record. And there has also been a suggestion that the Fairtrade enthusiasts could merge with a borough-backed climate change working group to ensure its future existence.

The initiative was originally spearheaded by the late Colne councillor Jo Belbin.