Nominations for Darwen Tower Jubilee Beacon lighting competition

Published Thursday 26 May 2022 at 14:10

We’ve crowned our winner of the competition to light the Jubilee Beacon at Darwen Tower.

Janet Pearce, founder of Keep Darwen Tidy, received almost half of the nominations. Read the full story here.

In total, 31 residents from across Blackburn with Darwen were put forward to light the beacon on the evening of Thursday, June 2nd.

You can see the full list of entries and read their nominations below.

You can find out everything you need to know about the event here.

Winner: Janet Pearce

Janet is a shining example of the community spirit and good heartedness of the Darwen folk. She is a champion of recycling, organising community group clean ups, advocating for voluntary litter picking and helping people take pride in the area they live. She is truly a beacon of the town and thus so deserves to light up the Jubilee Tower like the shining star she is!

Janet has been a true inspiration to the town, she spends all her time dedicating to keep our town clean and tidy. She attends schools and talks to them about the importance of litter and recycling. Janet is the driving force behind the ‘Keep Darwen Tidy’ group that do such incredible work keeping the town tidy. She motivates others to litter pick as well as going out daily clearing masses amount of litter and signposting people to the relevant services to report fly-tipping, to obtain litter-picking equipment, and to get rid of waste. She works tirelessly to keep Darwen tidy without payment.

She makes a huge difference, not just keeping the town tidy, but also building a community who cares about the town.  As a volunteer, she’s doing this out of pride for her town, not for profit or gain. She’s an excellent community figure and role model, and she deserves to be acknowledged.

An absolute treasure, she’s been a beacon in trying to keep Darwen tidy. She is so unique and special, the town would be so much worse without her efforts. She goes out every day even on her birthday!

Janet is an inspiration and has incredible community spirit. A true ‘Darrener’, in every sense.

Adrian Turner

Adie has spent many happy hours either walking or running up to the Tower and over his beloved moors. Several years ago, he was diagnosed with Bladder Cancer and after a 10-hour operation to remove several organs he was a shadow of the man he was. But, with the help of his family he got back to his running and still runs every other day on the moors. Adie is well known in Darwen, having ran several football teams in the Darwen League and is now the Chairman of Whitehall Bowling Green, which has several teams and is thriving. Adie’s days are now spent either walking or running on the moors, painting his beloved tower and moors – he’s had several exhibitions in the Library and Heritage Centre – or competing in the local bowling leagues. I couldn’t think of a better “Darrener” to light the Beacon.

Anontio Capitelli

Originally from Italy, Tony really appreciates the Royal Family and all that they do. He really admires Queen Elizabeth as she stands up for what she believes in and has regularly spoken of immigration in her throne speeches. The Italian community is big in Darwen and there is no one better to represent them at this historic event. Tony is the epitome of a hardworking, good man who has done a lot within the local community. He donates regularly to charities and has worked at the long-standing Darwen based firm ‘Crown Paints’ for over 30 years. This would be a really proud moment for him and his community.

Claire Martin

Claire and a friend set up a home schooling education community group in Darwen which was greatly needed. The group is very well attended and offers support, social activities, educational resources, educational sessions, educational support and shares educational ideas to families who home educate within the Darwen area. This group is much needed in Darwen and I hope it can grow and be recognised for its hard work and supportive ethos.

Darren James

Darren is an incredibly selfless person who has gone out of his way to bring not just quality live music and entertainment to Blackburn and Darwen, but to any up and coming photographer by letting them work these events to gain experience and be part of a team. I know how much hard work Darren has put into getting acts like Adidas Spezial with Liam Gallagher, Florence and The Machine, Paul Weller et al, and that dedication I think should be rewarded in recognition of the years of hard work that have benefitted so many people.

David Livesey

David is a humble philanthropist who supports local causes and charities – often anonymously. He cares passionately about Darwen and has invested heavily in protecting and restoring the moors.

Gary Aspden

Gary has brought community and pride to the top of the agenda in Blackburn with Darwen and unstinting support for Nightsafe and their work with local young people in need of a helping hand in life. He has worked hard in bringing world renowned people to invest time in bringing their events to both Blackburn and Darwen, including Adidas, CP Company, Liam Gallagher, Primal Scream… the list goes on. They have all brought performances in support of his efforts and he has put us back on the map and built massive positivity to our area.

Gary Perkins

Gary has done so much for Darwen. He has brought the town to life with his businesses. He looks after his employees, is a great father, and a philanthropist.

Ian Mack

Ian walks up to Darwen Tower every day has changed his life around. Last October, Ian was really poorly with Covid which resulted in him having a heart attack. On his recovery, he was advised to slowly walk up hills to regain his fitness. Once he got strong enough he made it up to the top of the Tower. Now its become his daily routine.

Janet Catterall

Janet is that every day good citizen who blends into the background and goes unnoticed. She always goes that extra mile and helps everybody. Janet works tirelessly for East Lancashire Hospice.

Jay Flynn

Jay kept us all going during lockdown and raised money for charity with his quiz nights.

John Sturgess

John is a pillar of the community. He is not only the owner of MGS Technical Plastics, which originated in Darwen in 1978 by his father, he has also been on numerous committees for the improvement of the borough. For years, he helped organise the Darwen Gala, giving lifts up to the Tower in his Land Rover for visitors. He has a heart of gold and loves Darwen, the town he was born in.

John East

John East is a well-known and well-loved resident of Darwen. He always represents Darwen and makes sure they receive fair and equal support. He well and truly is a spokesperson for Darwen. Over his lifetime he has carried out lots of community work supporting vulnerable people most notably asylum seekers and refugees and the DARE project. He is also a member of Darwen Rotary Club and a Scout leader.

Keiron Whitehead

Keiron has been involved in the NHS Mural in Darwen and has also done murals for schools. He is a good role model for Darwen, working tirelessly throughout Covid within the NHS.  His artwork was also on display in the Heritage Centre.

Kevin & Lilian Nicholson

Kevin and Lilian come as one.  They have been a pillar of our community for the last 40 years.  Lilian ran the Springvale Brownies for over 30 years before she had to retire. Kevin retired and then suffered heart failure shortly after. It was devastating. The surgeons gave him five years to live. Fast forward 20 years and he is still here. Once he recovered, he made it his aim to keep fit and healthy. Both Kevin and Lilian used their spare time to volunteer for the local community – helping with guided walks and cycling as well as many other things. Kevin is 80 in January and sadly hasn’t been able to get up to his beloved Tower for a few years now due to a hip issue. Eight weeks ago he finally got a new hip and his goal is to get back up to the Tower again.

Lisa Davies

Lisa Davies is a lovely lady who has a few health problems of her own. She is the Rainbow Leader at St James School Darwen and also helps support St James Brownies and helps run the food bank at St James Church.
She also helps support Highfield Rainbows and Brownies.

Margaret Hill

As a long- standing resident, Margaret has always looked upon the Tower with pride. The reason being that her Grandad, Edmund Baron, was the stonemason in charge of the team building it.
Having just battled cancer she is a true tower of strength, just like the Jubilee Tower.

Margety Collinge

Margety has lived in Darwen all her life. She ran the visitors centre in Sunnyhurst Woods for 37 years, even going back on a temporary basis when she was 72. She is 80 in December and had a tough 12 months losing her beloved husband suddenly a year ago.

Marjorie Davies

Marjorie is 70 years old this year. She has been a Darwen resident most of her life. She had a long career as a nurse before retiring in her 60s and has always put others before herself, be it her patients, any of her five children or as a carer for her husband.

Maureen Bateson

Maureen Bateson has worked tirelessly for Childrens Services for many, many years. She has campaigned for children and young people, she has challenged professionals to ensure they deliver services and make a difference for children and their families. She is kind, caring, and a ‘die- hard’ Blackburn Rovers fan!

Michael Grime

32 years ago my son joined ‘Bold Venture Beavers’ progressing through the stages until he became a Scout and finally a Venture Scout. Whilst I would like to nominate the whole team, Mick Grime stood out as an individual. His tireless work to give young people opportunities, experiences, comradeship and fun certainly contributed to my son’s development through the activities he took part in under Mick’s leadership.

Michael Hughes

Michael spent lockdown building a 4/5ft wooden model of Darwen Tower and I believe it would be amazing if he could bring it to the tower re-opening.

Michelle Pedder

Michelle is a married mother of three grown-up children and soon to be a grandmother for the first time in June this year. Michelle is a Darrener through-and-through. Michelle is one of the most selfless people we have ever met and is always there if you need a chat or advice. Michelle has always a smile on her face and brightens any room she is in. Michelle works with adults with learning disabilities and dedicates a lot of her spare time supporting them to achieve their dreams. We feel Michelle should be recognised for the charity work that she does for local charities.

Prof. Dominic Harrison

Prof. Dominic Harrison steered the residents of Blackburn with Darwen through the Covid-19 pandemic. He campaigned for the people of Blackburn with Darwen and supported communities. He was patient when advising people and answered all the questions asked. He is well known, not just in BwD but across the country for the work he did.

Sandra Jackson

Sandra has been a member of Darwen Morris Dancers since the 1970s. In 1992 she took over as the Principal of the troupe, and has ran the troupe ever since. Over the years she has trained and supported many local children and families by providing a cheap hobby to entertain them.. Darwen Morris Dancers is a not-for-profit organisation, which has meant that some years she has had to financially support the troupe so that they can get out and compete and represent her much-loved hometown. She is known in the community for her unwavering support and loyalty to Darwen. This year is her 60th birthday and I know she would find this a huge honour, due to her pride of her hometown.

Shafiq Khan

Shafiq is an amazing ambassador for Blackburn with Darwen, he is supporting the City Bid and is highly regarded for his inspired photography of the area. He also supports the Muslim community spending much of his spare time helping those less fortunate and never once asking for any acknowledgement or recognition. I know he would be thrilled to bits to be chosen, he is humble, hard-working, very passionate about the area and always there to help anyone in need. He really does make a difference and you could really make a difference to him by selecting him.

Simon Donelly

Simon has had mental health issues himself and now channels his energy into helping men talk about their own wellbeing. He started a group called ‘Talk Ourselves Well’ and the men involved get together to chat and listen to one another. ‘Talk Ourselves Well’ is without a doubt saving Darwen men’s lives and giving them a brighter future. For the first time ever there is a safe place to open up and talk whilst being out in the fresh air. Without Simon working tirelessly for our men more lives would be lost. A true Darwen hero! The group are also making Whitehall Park a nicer place for all of the local community. They make, mend and generally clear up areas that need improvement.

Simon Pastorello

Simon has been serving BwD for the past 13 years as the Senior Leader of The Beacon Church in Blackburn – both actively engaging and promoting social action, as well as steering it jointly with other local Churches. He is also spearheading considerable transformative work in Shadsworth. Additionally, he’s been going up Darwen Tower for the past 13 years every Tuesday morning to pray over Blackburn and Darwen. He is devoted to his congregation, and is always there should people need to talk or need help in any way. He is clearly committed to improving the lives of people in Blackburn and Darwen. His presence just makes the area a better place. I also think it is quite fitting that he runs a church called the Beacon.

Vivien Bickham

Vivien has been a proactive member of the local community all her life. She has been recognised for her work being awarded an MBE for services to victims of sexual and domestic abuse and more recently awarded an honorary doctorate from Lancaster University for her services to victims. She doesn’t broadcast her achievements just quietly continues sharing her skills and knowledge to assist in their recovery.

Valerie Baron

Val has been running Highfield Cubs for longer than I know. She is in her 80s and gives up her free time to help young people in Darwen. Scouts has been amazing for my son and I’m sure she has had a positive impact on hundreds if not thousands of local children.

Wayne and Koda

Wayne has been building up the community by litter picking, engaging with residents and making them proud of their areas. He deserves recognition for this.

Whitehall Park Supporters Group

WPSG is a volunteer-run supporters group that not only looks after Whitehall Park but also runs public events and a community garden. The WPSG is accessible for free and people who currently access it are from a diverse community. People who are recovering from illness, surgery or injury, people who are managing their own mental health, refugees, asylum seekers, families with children and SEN. The community garden offers nature healing through gardening, growing fruit and vegetables. The volunteers are supportive and offer a great sense of community within a public park. A friendly group who welcome everyone and a much-needed place for those who need some social, nature or community healing, support and a friendly place to feel welcomed.

Yaqoob Hussain MBE

For the past 50 years, Yaqoob Hussain MBE has been and is a valuable member of his local community.  For his commendable work with the local youths and the community, keeping them off the streets by having his own boxing gym, he was awarded an MBE back in 2013.  He has also been part of the NHS Responder Volunteer throughout the pandemic, where he has helped vulnerable people with their day to day activities and also lending an ear for those who needed to have a chat.  A well-deserved individual.

* Please note, due to the number of nominations received, we have chosen to feature just one per person

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