COMMEMORATIONS have been planned to mark the 75th anniversary of D-Day in Blackburn with Darwen.

The borough's mayor and deputy mayor will attend short ceremonies to mark the anniversary today.

Two civic ceremonies will be held, each starting at 11am.

The mayor, Cllr Jim Shorrock, and mayoress will lead a ceremony outside Blackburn town hall.

Cllr Shorrock will give a short speech, and Westholme School student Saoirse O’Neill will read a war poem, Little Ships.

Meanwhile, deputy mayor Cllr Iftakhar Hussain, and the deputy mayoress will be present at a ceremony outside Darwen town hall.

Arrangements for Darwen’s ceremony have been made by the Darwen branch of the Royal British Legion.

Silences will be observed as the Royal British Legion’s 75th anniversary D-Day flag is raised above both town halls.

The ceremonies will be attended by councillors, senior council officers and representatives of the armed forces.

Some school groups have been invited to attend.

D-Day this year marks the 75th anniversary of the Normandy Landings, on June 6, 1944.

On this date, Allied forces launched a combined naval, air and land assault on Nazi-occupied France.

The landings on the Normandy beaches marked the start of a long campaign to liberate north west Europe from German occupation.

Cllr Shorrock said: "It is so important that we mark this special anniversary of D-Day to remember the bravery of the troops and to commemorate the lives that were lost at the invasion.

"As a former serviceman, it fills me with pride to represent the borough at the ceremony outside Blackburn town hall."

Members of the public are welcome to attend the short ceremonies outside Blackburn town hall and Darwen town hall at 11am.

A former 13th Lancashire Parachute Battalion soldier will mark the anniversary by parachuting into Normandy once again.

Now 94, John Hutton was 19 when he served in the 13th Lancashire Parachute Battalion and took part in the largest seaborne military invasion in history.

It saw more than 160,000 troops storm the beaches of Normandy on a day that would ultimately lead to the liberation of Europe and turn the tide of the Second World War.

He and fellow veteran, Harry Read, 95, of Bournemouth, Dorset, will be among some 280 paratroopers performing tandem jumps, landing in fields used as a “drop zone” for the parachutists in 1944, who went on to destroy bridges in a bid to restrict German movements during the missions.