Blackburn Rovers' premiership status was "officially" resurrected by fans at the weekend -- in the most bizarre ceremony in football.

But the unusual event, which dates back to 1948, very nearly didn't happened after police tried to blow the whistle on the Saturday afternoon parade.

Hundreds of people flocked to Bamber Bridge for the Raising of the Coffin procession, which along with the burying of the coffin, takes place whenever Preston North End or Blackburn Rovers are promoted or relegated.

And for those in the crowd who were already bemused by the sight of a dozen men dressed as nuns, along with one dressed as a bishop, parading down Station Road to the last resting place of Rovers' premiership -- under a pub -- things got even stranger when the coffin was paraded around on a milk float.

Then, a blue-and-white coffin was placed in the cellar of the Trades Hall as the sombre bishop, alias local man Dave Tuson, declared Rovers were just too slow.

A cortege of five carnival-type floats headed by bands, dancers and fire crew paraded down Station Road with the bishop and his nuns -- dressed in stockings, suspenders and tabards -- walking at the centre of it all.

Outside Trades Hall, the bishop said several verses -- most in rhyme paying tribute to Jack Walker or poking fun at PNE's failed promotion bid. Mr Tuson, the self-appointed bishop of Brig', said: "We normally use a horse-drawn carriage but we used a milk float this time.

"It must have made things look even stranger to people who haven't seen it before.

"This weekend has been as good as any other.

"Everyone is really pleased to see Rovers back in the big time and hopefully that is the way it will stay."

Mick Higgins, a member of the committee which organised the event, added: "The raising of the coffin is the main part of the weekend, but other events are held as well.

"A tug-o-war and football tournament were also organised and we raise money for charities like St Catherine's Hospice. It's a really popular event which involves the whole community." Below, May Strettle, landlady of the Trades Hall, with the coffin and its occupant (LET pic) Bamber Bridge Carnival and raising of the coffin. The Hospital Inn float.


Bamber Bridge Carnival and raising of the coffin. FANCY THAT: School End Working Mens Club in fancy dress (left) Silvia Bruce and Irene McClumpha


Bamber Bridge Carnival and raising of the coffin. Joyce 'hot lips' Worden and David Burrows as Cpl Clinger of the MASH team from the Top House,Bamber Bridge.


Bamber Bridge Carnival and raising of the coffin. WHAT A CUTIE!: Samantha McBride of the Tender Nursing Care float as Looby Loo


Bamber Bridge Carnival and raising of the coffin. SERMONISING: Bishop says a few words before the coffin containing the remains of Blackburn Rovers is raised once again (left)


Bamber Bridge Carnival and raising of the coffin. COFFIN BEARERS: Members of the Brig'adiers carry the coffin to the waiting milk float (below)


Bamber Bridge Carnival and raising of the coffin. MASCOT: Rian Hoole, four, of Renshaw Drive,Bamber Bridge rides on the milk float with the coffin (right)