A CORONER has launched plans for an annual memorial service in East Lancashire for the friends and families of those who have lost someone in the past year.

Michael Singleton, who has been Blackburn coroner for over 13 years, said during that time he has seen thousands of families coping with grief in a variety of ways, but noticed they all had one thing in common.

He said: “As coroner I see pain and grief of families and it is more related to the loss rather than the manner of it.

“The common thing that people say to me is how pleased they have been that their loved one was see as sufficiently important, that someone in authority has looked into the cause of their death.

“Knowing that their loved one has been recognised and remembered is a source of pride and of comfort to them.

“Realising this got me thinking, that when people die, if they don’t hold prominent positions or they haven’t died in some tragic circumstances, we don’t tend to hold memorials to them.

“So I thought it would be nice to remember these people and to hold a memorial service.”

The service will be held in Corporation Park on March 3, 2013, and will see a tree planted in honour of those who have died.

Attendees will also be invited to fill in a card with their memories, attach it to a stick, and place it in a dove-shaped flower bed. The cards will be left for all to read until summer and then winter flowers are planted, The event is being supported by Blackburn Cathedral, the Interfaith Forum and Blackburn with Darwen Council, and will be open to all, regardless of faith.

“It won’t matter where the person lived or where they died, I want it to be as open as possible,” added Mr Singleton.