THE launch of the Lancashire Hill Country Visitor Guide got off to the perfect start, thanks to the help of a horse named Betty.

A posse of distinguished guests received their first copies of the new publication after Betty and a number of her equine friends rode into the grounds of Haworth Park, Accrington, to drop off their special delivery.

The horses form part of the South Pennine Packhorse Trails Trust, whose work is featured in the new guide.

The 36-page newspaper is also packed with articles and information on walking, industrial heritage, local and natural history, waterways, arts, sport and leisure events and accommodation.

Mayoral parties from Blackburn, Hyndburn, Burnley and Rossendale attended the launch, in addition to a number of leading representatives from the tourism industry.

The Mayor of Hyndburn, County Councillor Ian Ormerod, who is also chairman of Lancashire's Hill Country, said: "The 1999 Visitor Newspaper is bursting with ideas on what to see and where to go in East Lancashire and the surrounding areas. I'm sure it will be a big help in promoting the many and varied attractions in the area." Local tourism journalist Ron Freethy has joined the editorial team for the new-look paper. More than 100,000 copies have been produced and distribution is already under way to national tourist information centres, attractions and accommodation providers.

The guide will also be distributed at several holiday exhibitions taking place nationally and internationally. And you can read all about it on the internet when you visit its website at

Cheryl Flynn, tourism manager for LHC, said: "Thousands will be sent out in response to inquiries from visitors interested in visiting the hill country.

"The annual newspaper is certainly something different from the usual tourism brochures and leaflets and always proves very popular with both visitors and residents alike."

Converted for the new archive on 14 July 2000. Some images and formatting may have been lost in the conversion.