A GROUP hoping for funding to restore and preserve a 128-year-old banner has a nervous eight-week wait to see if a funding application has been accepted.

Villagers in Downham have submitted an application to the Heritage Lottery Fund for around £27,000 to be able to conserve the banner and put it on permanent display in a museum.

The large sign was designed to be used at the head of the parades and was held by the village’s Benevolent Society.

It is made of silk and Hamish McFall, from the Downham Banner society, said it had deteriorated over the years because it is so large and has been kept rolled up rather than being hung.

He said: “The application is in and has been received by the heritage Lottery Fund. They are now considering it and I think they allow themselves up to eight weeks.

“It is a nervous time for us. The funding is essential in that we deliberately did not try to raise the money from our resources because the fund has indicated that if they are prepared to do something, they will give the amount required.”

If the bid is successful, the money will be used to employ The People’s History Museum, in Manchester, to carry out extensive restoration work. The banner would then be presented to the Museum of Lancashire, Preston, for permanent display.

Mini banners would also be made for display in Downham’s church, library, school, and village hall.

Mr McFall said: “The banner is important because of the history of the Benevolent Society.

“This is the only banner that we know about and it reminds us of how people looked after each other before the welfare system came along.”