A YEAR-long programme of events is being proposed to mark the 400th anniversary of the trial and execution of the Pendle witches.

Adrian Lord, the man behind Pendle Witch Camp, wants to organise the series of events to take place in 2012.

He has offered to chair a committee aimed at securing funding for the festivities and coming up with ideas.

Coun Allan Buck, who leads on tourism in Pendle, said plans were already in place to commemorate the trials.

Tourism officers were also looking at organising events to mark the 100th anniversary of the sinking of the Titanic, he said.

The borough has a link to the tragedy through Colne’s Wallace Hartley, who ordered his band to carry on playing as the vessel sunk.

Coun Buck said officers and councillors had spoken to Mr Lord with a view to working together on the events.

He said: “Tourism officers from Pendle, the Ribble Valley and Lancaster are getting together with Lancashire and Blackpool Tourist Board to look at ways of commemorating the trial and execution of the witches from 400 years ago.

“We are looking at setting up a local group via the existing Pendle tourism forum and we are happy for Mr Lord to be a part of that.

“It is also the 100th anniversary of the sinking of the Titanic in 2012 and we have a local link to that through Colne’s Wallace Hartley - the band leader.

“We will be looking to commemorate both events but it will have to be done in a sensitive way because they were both darker days.”

Mr Lord said the anniversary would be an ideal opportunity to attract people to the borough, raise its profile and boost its economy.

He said sponsored walks could take place along the Pendle Witch Trail through villages including Barley, Roughlee and Newchurch.

In addition, he is proposing art exhibitions and an outdoor play telling the story of the witches.

Other ideas include commissioning films about the witches and erecting a statue or monument.

Pendle Witch Camp, which is organised by Mr Lord, is held annually in a field in Blacko.

He would like to stage a family-orientated folk music festival in the same location as part of the commemoration scheme.

Mr Lord said: “There are lots of little gems in Pendle and these events would help tourism and allow people to appreciate the area.

“It’s an absolute one-off chance.”