Excited residents gathered in Blackburn to meet former England goalkeeper David James at the launch event of a new charity yesterday.

On Friday (August 11), legend David James visited The Mall Blackburn to promote Utilita Giving, a charity set up to support those impacted by fuel and food poverty.

James, who is patron of the charity, travelled up from Cambridgeshire and was greeted by excited Blackburn with Darwen residents, who were eager to chat with the 53 year old, who won 53 caps for England during a 26 year career.

The event went on from 11am to 2pm and it was a fun family day with a Batman superhero entertaining the youngsters, as well as a face painter and spin the wheel competition.

Lancashire Telegraph: Blackburn resident, Robert Brigby and his two daughters at the meet and greetBlackburn resident, Robert Brigby and his two daughters at the meet and greet (Image: LT)

Representatives from Utilitia Giving, and Blackburn Foodbank operations manager Gill Fourie, were in attendance.

Speaking about the meet and greet, David said: “The people have been wonderful, everyone’s been having a go at spinning the wheel which has been giving them vouchers for food and prizes.

“I was pleased to meet up with Gill from Blackburn Foodbank and listen to their story, and I think the work they’ve been doing is fantastic.

Lancashire Telegraph: Meet and greet attendees playing the spinning wheel with DavidMeet and greet attendees playing the spinning wheel with David (Image: LT)

“The cost of living crisis at the moment is very volatile in a negative way, and has been pretty much since the pandemic.

"With food prices still being high, the winter is going to be tough on a lot of families across the board.

“Saving energy, and the stuff we’re doing here with Utiltia Giving and trying to help people with food and fuel poverty should hope to lessen the burden, but I think the winter will be another tough one.”

Between January and July 2023, 4,178 children and 6,715 adults in Blackburn with Darwen relied on Blackburn Foodbank to ensure they didn’t go hungry.

Gill says the number of people using the foodbank are based on government policies and when energy bills increase, people struggle to afford food.

Last month, the Lancashire Telegraph launched its No Hungry Kids This Summer campaign which aims to raise £5,000 for the local foodbank.

You can donate to Blackburn Foodbank via our dedicated GoFundMe campaign here.