DONATIONS for the proposed new statue of former MP Barbara Castle in Blackburn town centre are starting to roll in.

Artist Sam Holland has been officially commissioned as the total raised in Lancashire and London approaches £30,000

To pay for the bronze sculpture in Jubilee Square in front of Blackburn College as part of the new Blakey Moor heritage quarter, the appeal needs to raise £69,000.

A special unveiling ceremony is scheduled for October 6 next year on what would have been Baroness Castle’s 110th birthday.

The campaign has been backed by Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn and retiring Prime Minister Theresa May.

Including the £19,000 was raised by the local Labour party in the 1980s in a failed bid for a community centre, the local Blackburn campaign now tops £27,000 with more to be added from donations collected by her successor as the town’s MP Kate Hollern at Westminster.

The former Labour cabinet minister was Blackburn MP from 1945 to 1979, a life peer and a Euro-MP,

She held five Cabinet posts introducing the breathalyser, the Equal Pay Act, the 70mph maximum speed limit and legislation requiring seat belts in new cars.

Baroness Castle died aged 91 in 2002.

Mrs Holland, will host a workshop at the Festival of Making in Blackburn town centre on June 15 and 16, explaining showcasing the skills needed to create the statue.

Ewood’s Cllr Maureen Bateson, the campaign’s moving spirit, said: “I use all opportunities to promote this campaign and encourage others.

“I am confident we will raise the money we have a long list of Barbara’s admirers, friends of the Labour party, trade unions and local organisations were are talking. to.

“I’ve spoken to a lot of people who are very keen and more than happy to make a donation. It’s all adds up.

“I’m sure the unveiling will be a special day celebrating an exceptional women who made such a difference."

Mrs Hollern is co-ordinating donations from Westminster with help from former Blackburn MP Jack Straw and ex-Darwen MP Janet Anderson.

Cllr John Slater, leader of Blackburn with Darwen Council Conservative group, said: “As long as the statue is privately funded, I have no problem with it. Barbara Castle made her mark on and for Blackburn."

The public donation page is