DARWEN could have a free memorial to all its First World War fallen after a generous offer from a local stonemason.

The owner of Blackburn-based Brent Stevenson Memorials said he had wanted to create a memorial listing the names of all Darreners who fell during the conflict, which began 100 years ago.

Mr Stevenson, whose firm is based in Preston Old Road, Cherry Tree, is already working on a memorial in Blackburn in partnership with local residents, to be installed in Corporation Park.

That memorial will be unveiled annually in stages based on the year in which the soldiers listed were killed, and Mr Stevenson said this was an idea he would be happy to discuss with council chiefs in Darwen.

He said: “We need a site and that side of things would be up to the council, but the offer is on the table. I am really keen to do something in Darwen to go with what we are doing in Blackburn.

“I would like it to be somewhere near the market hall in a place where people will see it, but that would be up to the council.”

If it goes ahead, the memorial, which would most likely be made from granite, would be donated by Mr Stevenson at no cost to the council.

Darwen Town Council mayor Trevor Maxfield, who is also Armed Forces Champion for Blackburn with Darwen Council, said: “This is a wonderful gesture and it certainly needs to be discussed.

“I have put the item on the agenda for the next Darwen Town Council meeting and I will speak to officers at the borough as well.”

Darwen MP Jake Berry said he had already spoken to Mr Stevenson about the issue and was keen to help it progress.

He said: “I had a chat with Brent about this in Hoddlesden the other week and my vision is to have memorial paving slabs outside the town hall in Darwen.

“I am planning to meet with Brent and Coun Maxfield as soon as possible to talk about what sort of memorial would be most appropriate for Darwen’s heroes.”