A MAJOR town centre carnival and parade has won a £50,000 grant thanks to the votes of local people.

Blackburn Festival of Light will now be able to go ahead with its new ‘Let It Shine’ festival in August to complement its existing event in December.

It received the National Lottery cash after winning enough votes in ‘The People’s Projects’ vote sponsored by ITV.

A second East Lancashire project ‘Mud to Medicine’ by Blackburn-based Idle Women was also granted £50,000 to plant a medicinal garden designed and co-created entirely by women in Nelson.

Festival of Light organisers and supporters staged an event to drum up local support in the key vote in Blackburn town centre on April 6.

Their ‘Let It Shine - The People’s Parade’ project and ‘Mud to Medecine’ both feature on Granada TV in the run-up to the crucial poll.

The contest was a collaboration between the National Lottery Community Fund, ITV and The National Lottery which shortlisted 95 projects nationwide for the final decision.

‘ Let it Shine’ will stage a celebratory summer parade as its centrepiece alongside activities such including dance, costume making, drumming and puppet making.

Kerris Casey-St.Pierre, from the Festival of Light which is based at the recently fire-destroyed Bureau Centre for the Arts, said : “We are delighted, so delighted.

"It's great news especially since the fire. We now have something to start work on and we have had so much support since the loss of The Bureau.

"We want to run a really inclusive event and get everyone in Blackburn and the surrounding area involved.

“It means we can organised a really big carnival-style procession at the end of August right throughout the town centre.”

Rachel Anderson, from Idle Women said: "This is amazing news. This is just the sort of injection of support East Lancashire needs."

Joe Ferns, a director ofThe National Lottery Community Fund, said: “The People’s Projects highlights the fantastic things communities are doing across the UK to enable people to thrive.

“We’re really excited to see this year’s winners use National Lottery funding to strengthen their local community and support people to lead happier and healthier lives.”.

A third project, HMPasties Kitchen by Groundwork MSST in Tameside, was awarded £50,000 to provide jobs for people with criminal convictions.