NINE outfits, including six from East Lancashire, have been named as the county's first business ambassadors.

Delegates have already staged their first meeting, at the Assheton Arms in Downham, as part of the Marketing Lancashire (ML) led initiative.

BAE Systems, Barnfield Construction, Blackburn Rovers FC, Forbes Solicitors, Panaz, and Veka are among the select contingent.

Chef Mark Taft, from the Seafood Pub Company venue, served up a red rose influenced menu.

Dave Jones, Veka's managing director, spoke of the digital landscape faced by all 2019 firms.

He said: " I believe it's vital for companies to embrace digital skills in order to maintain an 'edge' in such a competitive market, and we're very lucky to have such a wealth of talent, innovation and training opportunities here in Lancashire."

Rachel McQueen, ML chief executive, added: "This was an opportunity to discuss the Lancashire economy, culture and lifestyle with a good cross-section of representatives from some of the best-known brands in the business community."