A WELL-known Darwen firm has taken part in a nationwide celebration of 150 years of the John Lewis Partnership.

Around 250 partners, so called because they have a stake in the business, at Herbert Parkinson Ltd, marked the mile-stone with a series of events at the town’s cricket club.

The company, which was established in 1935 by Blackburn businessman Herbert Parkinson, started out producing jacquard furnishing fabrics.

It was acquired by the John Lewis Partnership in 1953 when it was based at Sunnyhurst Mill to provide an exclusive range of soft furnishing products.

The firm, which is based at Harvest Mill in Monton Road, has now been at its current site since 1960 and manufactures bespoke soft furnishings.

The partners were given the afternoon off to mark the occasion and formed a conga line from the business to Darwen Cricket Club.

A series of activities were staged including a quiz and a sponsored chest wax for the partnership’s nominated charity, Barnardo’s, which raised around £200.

Stuart McDonald, Herbert Parkinson’s managing director, said: “It was a fantastic event to be a part of because it showcases the benefits of the partnership. The partners here have a real say in the direction of the company and we spent around an hour coming up with suggestions for the business.

“It’s a real benefit for us managers to get that kind of feedback.

“We all had a great afternoon and it was great to celebrate the partnership’s milestone together.

“I think that it’s a competitive advantage having that level of communication within the company and we benefit from being part of the John Lewis Partnership.”

Last year the company announced that it was taking on 15 new members of staff and launched three new online departments thanks to a £350,000 investment by John Lewis which boosted investment.