A PROJECT celebrating Darwen’s history and heritage had its first birthday yesterday.

Darwen Days started as a Facebook group a year ago, but now there is a thriving website and DVD.

The website has a huge collection of photographs of the town, charting several decades.

The DVD ‘Darwen Days’ has now sold out of all 1,000 copies.

Founder Dave Owen, 41, set the project up to help his mother, Shirley, when she was ill.

He said: “She missed going round Darwen, so I started taking pictures to her. When she died, I was left with all these pictures and didn’t know what to do with them.

“Then I wondered how many other people would be like my mum – and Darwen Days was born.”

Mr Owen, who runs the site with his wife Marie, with help from Brian Lomax and Pauline Hodgkinson, said he wanted to preserve the history of Darwen for everybody.

He said: “I want to save as many photos as possible so people can see them for the next 100 years. We have started going to old people’s homes now. Everyone has a right to see the photographs of Darwen.”

Mr Owen hoped all history and research groups in the town could get together and pool their resources.

He added: “I would really like to put all the information together in a library or museum for the people of Darwen.

“These images belong to the people of the town and they should be able to look at them for free.”

Mr Owen said people in Darwen had a great sense of pride in their town.

He said: “Darreners are a very funny breed and we do have a great passion and pride in the town that outsiders don’t understand.

“There is very little left in Darwen these days except pride, with things like the tower and the parks and woods.”

Mr Owen said he planned to branch out the concept to other towns, like Bolton and Accrington.

He said: “I would like to expand it, but I have started something in Darwen now and I want to get that sorted.

“I would like to thank Brian Lomax and Pauline Hodgkinson for all the help they have given to me.”

Another Darwen Days DVD is planned in October.