Published April 15, 2014 at 17:00
Blackburn town centre will see an economic uplift with the visit of Her Majesty the Queen this week.
It is estimated that the local economy will be boosted by around £1 million thanks to thousands of extra visitors coming to the town on Maundy Thursday (April 17) and then returning in the future.
Her Majesty The Queen, accompanied The Duke of Edinburgh, will visit Blackburn Cathedral for the historic service which is held in a different town or city each year. It will see The Queen hand out money to 88 men and 88 women across Lancashire.
The local business community in Blackburn has welcomed the special visit and worked alongside Blackburn with Darwen Council to make the most of the opportunities it provides.
Loraine Jones, general manager of The Mall shopping centre, said: “The town centre has undergone significant changes and investments and Her Majesty The Queen’s visit is the perfect opportunity to showcase these new developments and to be very proud of what we have achieved. There are many people who will be visiting that have not seen these changes and they are in for a pleasant surprise.”
“These are exciting times for Blackburn and as with her last visit the atmosphere will be exciting and a happy occasion hopefully encouraging the visitors to shop!”
Peter Hobkirk, chairman of Hobkirk Sewing Machines Ltd in Darwen Street,added: “Blackburn is extremely honoured to host a visit from Her Majesty the Queen and the excitement is definitely growing. Not only is it a great opportunity to show the best of Blackburn but it will also bring a real boost to the town’s economy. As an established and very well-known business in Blackburn, it is very encouraging that more people will be shopping locally and giving their town all their support.”
David Smith, Commercial Manager of Blackburn with Darwen Markets, who has been working with traders to prepare for the big day, said: “We are expecting Blackburn Market to be exceptionally busy on the day the Queen is visiting, and we are gearing up for that. We are opening the doors from 7.30am and there will be events and activities taking place throughout the day.
I think there are some people in the borough and from neighbouring towns who still haven’t visited our fantastic market since it moved and it would be wonderful to welcome them and be able to showcase what I believe to be one of the best markets in the region.”
Philip Ainsworth, owner of Ainsworth Jewellers on Darwen Street, is also welcoming the opportunity the visit provides, he said : “We are delighted that Her Majesty the Queen is coming to the Cathedral Quarter to present the Maundy Money.
“I know there will be many well-wishers and visitors coming to the town to celebrate this historic occasion. I am thrilled that so many people will be able to see this part of Blackburn, the regeneration which is happening and all this area and this town has to offer.”