DARWEN’S new market square was officially opened at the weekend.

Hundreds of people gathered to enjoy the launch of the £1.5million open space

Following the opening ceremony, celebrations included a brass band, a Punch and Judy show, live music and more in an event organised by Darwen Rotary Club.

The former three-day market site now boasts an open space with a large copper peregrine falcon, which is a nod towards the birds which are known to nest in the town’s India Mill building and Darwen’s weaving heritage.

The sculpture, designed and created by renowned artist Liam Hopkins, who has work showcased in galleries around the world, has been made using woven copper and has an impressive five-metre wing span.

Jeremy and Elaine Turner, both from Darwen, said they were really pleased with the site’s new look.

Mr Turner said: “It is a lot better than the old building.

“It’s much more functional and there’s lots of room to have a lot of events on.

“It’s also made the town hall building better because you can see it in all its glory.”

The new square also boasts landscaped areas, seating and artwork honouring brave Darwen soldiers killed in the First World War.

Megan Flynn, who attended the opening event with her son, Eli Stanley, said: “I really like the market square and I’m really pleased with the opening event.

“There’s lots to do and all the children are enjoying it.”

There was also fair ground rides, Darwen Ladies Choir, entertainment from Poppy Holiday and 12-year-old jazz and classical pianist Harry Bowden.

Cllr Phil Riley, Blackburn with Darwen Council’s regeneration boss, said: “It’s money well spent and I think the space looks fantastic.

“We have a couple of bits to finish off but overall the site looks really good.

“Darwen has a great open space now to provide outdoor events and that’s what the people of Darwen deserve.”

Denise Park, the council’s newly appointed chief executive, said Darwen’s new market square was beautiful and was excited to see it being used in the future.