IT WAS feared Whalley's annual Pickwick night would be axed - but tonight this year's event was hailed one of the best ever.

The freezing temperatures and fallen snow did not deter the thousands who passed through King Street to be part of the 22nd annual festival.

Earlier this year a lack of sponsorship put the Dickensian-themed event under threat.

But, under the new name of Whalley Pickwick Festival, it roared back last night.

Festivities got under way with a carol service at around 6pm.

Visitors enjoyed Christmas decoration stalls, homemade cakes and jams, a hog roast, fun fair, fire eaters and street entertainers.

Festival chairman Neil Martin said he was pleased with the turnout after problems earlier this year were averted when £5,000 was raised in sponsorship.

Neil said: “It went smoothly and was really busy.

“I have to thank the committee for their hard work and business.

"Without them it wouldn't haven't happened.”

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