PREPARATIONS are underway for a parade through the streets of Accrington to commemorate the start of the First World War.

On Tuesday, July 1, 120 soldiers from the Duke of Lancaster’s Regiment will march through the town to exercise their freedom of the borough.

Colonel Chris Owen said: “It is a tremendous honour for the Regiment and its soldiers to exercise the freedom of Hyndburn, and it is fitting that we will do so in the home town of the Accrington Pals on the anniversary of their great sacrifice.

“Parades such as this give us an opportunity to publicly express our gratitude to the communities our soldiers come from.

“We very much look forward to July 1 and to thanking the people of Hyndburn for their long-standing and continued support.”

Hyndburn Council leader Miles Parkinson said: “The history of the Duke of Lancaster’s Regiment is linked with the Accrington Pals, so it is fitting that they have chosen this the centenary year of the outbreak of the First World War to exercise their freedom of the borough.

“Everyone is invited and warmly welcomed to come along and see the parade, which will give us all the opportunity to show our appreciation for the regiment’s gallant and courageous service.”

The time of the march, and the route, is set to be announced on Monday, June 16.

The Freedom Parade is part of a programme of activities running from 2014 to 2018 in Hyndburn to coincide with the programme of national commemorations of the First World War.

Before heading off to the front line, where they suffered huge losses in the Battle of the Somme, the Pals marched through Accrington to cheers from residents.