PLANS to preserve a 128-year-old banner have been dealt a blow after being refused a grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund.

Villagers in Downham applied for a grant in August to help restore the village’s banner, which was made in 1885 to commemorate the centenary of the Downham Benevolent Society.

It has been stored in a box in St Leonard’s Parish Church for several years but the group were turned down with Heritage Lottery stating that it was due to them dealing with too many applications.

A group of residents want the banner to be professionally conserved and put on permanent display at The Museum of Lancashire in Preston.

They have received support from Chatburn School, Downham Village Hall and Lancashire County Council.

Tom Mclean, co-founder of the Downham Banner Group, said: “We can apply more than once to we are going to get some more detailed feedback and then go for it again.

“We are optimistic because we think that the banner is worth preserving.”