A ROW has broken out over the of the location of Darwen's ceremonial mace.

At a meeting of Darwen Town Council, Cllr Dave Smith drew the council’s attention to a letter sent to the borough council by Darwen MP Jake Berry and town mayor Roy Davies, demanding the return of the ceremonial mace to the town.

The letter stated it was the property of Darwen and represented the authority of Her Majesty the Queen.

Cllr Smith said: “This letter has been sent on Darwen Town Council headed paper without our knowledge.

“It gives the impression that all councillors are in agreement about it, when in fact, we knew nothing about it.

“I’m not bothered about the request, what really bothers me is the underhanded nature of the way it was done behind the council’s back.

“It was unprofessional and wrong and you owe the council an apology.”

Cllr Roy Davies said: “I was approached by Jake Berry and asked to sign the letter to show my agreement.

“There’s no way I’m making an apology for trying to get things back to Darwen.

“The residents want their heritage back and it’s my job to try and make it happen.”

Sudell Ward councillor Eileen Entwistle said: “During my time as Darwen mayor I had to carry the mayoral chain.

“Walking around with something like that in my handbag was far too much responsibility and we will be in the same situation if we take the mace back.”

Cllr Brian Taylor said: “There is no way we will be able to store it here as it will not fit in the safe.

“We will have find a way to store it securely, which will end up costing more money.

“It’s not worth it.”

The sterling silver ceremonial mace, which is decorated with the Darwen coat of arms, was on display at Blackburn Town Hall.

It takes pride of place outside the council chamber displayed in a secure glass cabinet.

Cllr Mohammed Khan responded to the request in a letter, he said: “I fully appreciate the deep sense of pride that exists in Darwen.

“Blackburn with Darwen Council is the main council for the borough’s two town’s and has been since the merger in 1974.

“As such, I have a duty to ensure that the mace and other ceremonial and civic items that belong to Blackburn with Darwen Council are retained here.

“This where the main official meetings covering the whole of Blackburn with Darwen take place and where members of the public can see both maces when they attend public meetings.”