AMBITIOUS plans to launch a virtual museum featuring thousands of Darwen artefacts have been unveiled by a local history group.

But Darwen Days founder Dave Owen says the group desperately needs volunteers in order to be successful in applying for a grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund.


Mr Owen says an application for the cash needed to set up the online museum was knocked back because the HLF said the group was too small.

So an appeal has been launched for volunteers to get involved in the group, with those experienced in web design especially urged to come forward.

Mr Owen said: “The virtual museum would be a fantastic way for us to take this forward and we have had support from the borough council and Darwen MP Jake Berry.

“Accessible from our website, there would be clickable images of museum rooms that would contain huge archives of photographs and videos, as well as local artwork and books about Darwen.

“We also want to create a sound archive in conjunction with local schools, so the children can record their parents and grandparents talking about life in the mills and things like that.

“But if we are to get this money we really need volunteers on our books so we can showdemonstrate we have a big enough group to run it.”

Mr Owen said if the bid for funding was to ultimately fail, he would continue to run Darwen Days as a website and Facebook page and would continue the work he does in the community, such as school visits.

He said: “Darwen Days will not close no matter what, but we will not be able to move it forward.”

Darwen Days began when Mr Owen acquired historic pictures of the town to show his mum while she was ill and housebound.

Having created something of an archive, when his mum died he decided to set up the Facebook page to share it with the rest of Darwen.

Now, as the group heads towards its fourth birthday, there are more than 30,000 pictures online, plus videos dating back to 1900.

Anyone interested can contact Mr Owen on 01254 690980.