PADIHAM’S historic Whit Walks will go ahead this Sunday after Lancashire police agreed to use special constables to staff the event.

Organisers had feared the walks would have to be cancelled after being told they would have to pay £2,000 to hire a private traffic management company.

But a last minute deal has been struck with police chiefs to ensure that the centuries-old tradition can carry on.

Kath Hudson, church warden at St Leonard’s CE Church, said all of the churches involved were ‘very pleased’ with the police’s decision.

She said: “With the cutbacks the police are facing, they said they could not afford to marshal any event and that we had to get a traffic management company in.

“That would have cost £2,000 and there is no way the churches could afford that. We have been campaigning together for two or three months now and I think that because so many people complained, the police have agreed to use the Specials.”

The walks, which originated in the 1800s, bring together the congregations of St Leonards, the Unitarian Chapel, St John the Baptist RC Church, St Philip The Apostle RC Church, and St Margaret’s CE Church, Hapton.

Mrs Hudson, who is in her second spell as church warden, said Padiham residents past and present had rallied round in support of the cause.

She said: “There was a great response on the Ye Olde Padiham Facebook page. We got in touch with them and we’ve had messages from people all over the world.

“If everyone who says they are coming turns up then it should be a great day.”

The walks set off from Bank Street, to the rear of St Leonard’s, at 10.40am on June 15. Road closures will be in place in the town centre.

Special constables are volunteer members of the public who, when on duty, wear a uniform and have full police powers.