Published Friday 21 October 2022 at 14:00
Proud Darreners, James Readfern and Nathan Banks are set to become the new ‘guardians’ of Darwen Tower.
The pair – wardens for the Lord’s Hall Estate – already know the moors like the back of their hands, being instrumental to a vast restoration and conservation project there.
Now, they’re set to take on the daily duty of opening and locking the recently restored Jubilee Tower.
A new oak door has been introduced there following the £300,000 works to help deter vandalism and safeguarding the landmark for future generations to come.
Martin Eden, Blackburn with Darwen Borough Council’s Director for Place, said:
The Tower has stood proudly on the top of the moors for almost 125 years.
The restoration project has been a huge success and really brought the landmark back to its best.
There’s been a swell of community support around the works, which really have been finished to an impressive standard.
In June, thousands turned out on the moors for the lighting of a Jubilee Beacon – marking the Queen’s 70 year reign and the external works being revealed.
Before and during the project, sadly, despite the Tower being so well loved, it was subject to ongoing vandalism.
We don’t want a small few to spoil it for others and so we introduced the new, oak door as a preventative measure.
We then announced a short-term, interim arrangement to ensure we could get it back open for the end of summer and early autumn.
We said that we would work hard to find a long-term solution and with the support of the Lord’s Hall Estate and its staff, James and Nathan, we know that the Tower will be in safe hands.
The gamekeepers received special awards from Lancashire Fire and Rescue for their brave efforts to help contain the moorland fire in May 2020.
They have worked hard ever since to restore the fire-damaged moorlands – introducing new ponds as firebreaks, improving access tracks for emergency vehicles and encouraging wildlife back.
The duo will now add the opening of the Tower each morning and locking it in the evening to their daily duties – officially taking up the reigns on November 1st when new winter opening hours of 9am to 4pm will start.
James, who lives in the grounds of Lord’s Hall – the highest house in Darwen, said:
The Tower is incredibly important to the community of Darwen and we’re proud to be able to play our part in helping to protect it and the surrounding moorland.
We’re looking forward to getting started in November.
The £300,000 restoration of the Tower, which was built to celebrate Darrener’s rights to roam the moors and Queen Victoria’s Diamond Jubilee, was funded by Darwen Town Deal, Darwen Rotary and Blackburn with Darwen Council.
As part of the Darwen Town Deal, £3m could be invested to improve and create new links and pathways from the town centre, up and across the moors, including to the Tower over the next four years.
The plans are part of £100m of investment planned for the town in the coming years.
You can read more about that at: www.darwentowndeal.co.uk