Hundreds of people enjoyed a VE Day picnic in the park at Haslingden’s Greenfield Memorial Gardens.

Visitors to the gardens, off Manchester Road, enjoyed free entertainment, free face painting, balloon modelling and a magician.

VE Day (Victory in Europe Day) is celebrated to mark the anniversary dating back from May 8, 1945 when Prime Minister Winston Churchill announced on the radio at 3pm that the war in Europe had come to an end after Germany's surrender the day before. 

Tom Powell and Wendy Cage, from The Old Time Entertainment Company, opened the event by dancing around the memorial to traditional 1940s songs.

Veterans In Communities Choir sang a medley of classic songs and the Rossendale Drum Majorettes entertained audiences.

Beth Crankshaw said: “It is great that they have had so much stuff going on and my son Regan loves magic and really enjoyed it.”

Tara Gwilliam said: “My daughter Elsie goes to Haslingden Primary School and we saw a sign for today’s event as we walked past the gates so we decided to come along. It has been really good and there was lots going on.”

Her daughter Elsie Pemberton, six, said: “The clown is silly and does good tricks. He made me a balloon dog.”

Poppy Holiday had travelled from Darwen.

She said: “I thought I would get into the spirit. I love a picnic and that is what attracted me. It was based around the 1940s and I am an 1940s singer myself.”

Face painters from Crafty Kat Parties were hugely popular and set up inside Greenfield Gardens Community Centre as the weather was uncertain.

Alice Scott, five, was transformed into a pink butterfly by Kathy Eastham. 

Her mum Sonia said: “Helmshore Primary School sent out a message on X, what was Twitter. For me the best part has been the majorettes as I used to be in Shawforth Majorettes.”

French teacher Carole Palfreman said: “I teach conversational French at St Peter’s Community Centre. Today has been enjoyable and it is nice to see the people dancing wearing 1940s clothes, and there was also good singing of wartime songs.

“It is nice that so many people have made the effort to come out and enjoy themselves. It has been something different, has brought people together and given them a chance to see each other in a different context.”

Food and drink was provided by Ninja Coffee, Valley Ices, Bacup Pie and Cake-a-Brate.

Meanwhile, Rossendale Borough Council secured £1.8m from the National Lottery Heritage Fund and added further money to deliver improvements in Haslingden including new shop fronts and extensive public realm work on Deardengate around the Big Lamp.