JAKE BERRY was a late addition to the new team set up by Blackburn with Darwen Council to suggest how some promised government money might be spent around Darwen and, particularly, – local folk are hoping – on the renovation of the Jubilee Tower.

But once he’d been invited to join, Mr Berry, MP for Rossendale and Darwen, was quick to lead the charge for financial backing for the Tower fund by taking a look for himself.

Jake went up on to the moors to see the problems – and he took his dog along for a sniff.

Chorley Citizen:

It’s a long, steep, rough climb up from Bold Venture but he was offered a lift in a 1953 ex-Korean War Jeep.

It certainly helped that Mr Berry is a Jeep enthusiast, although poodle Lola wasn’t too keen at first.

A group of local Tower fans have been up on inspection runs several times in the Jeep which is owned by Simon Bromley whose father used to be a dentist in Darwen.

“The road up is not in great shape and if you don’t have a tank handy then a Jeep is the next best thing,” said Jake.

What did he think about the state of the Tower?

“I’m no expert, but it’s obvious to anyone that work needs doing. And it won’t be cheap,” he said. “The foundations are cracking and there’s a big problem with the base below the top platform.

“It’s had a hammering for more than 120 years from wind and rain, moorland fires, and industrial pollution. Several heavy stones are cracked and most of the windows are missing.”

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And the big question every Darrener wants to know? Can he help?

“I certainly hope so,” said Mr Berry. “I understand just how much the Tower means to everyone. It can’t be allowed to crumble.

“Local folk have already raised nearly £75,000 towards the renovation. It’s a tremendous effort - but it’s a big challenge.

“There will be some government money but our new group needs to look at not only the Tower but the town centre, parks and industrial and commercial ventures.”

John Jacklin, of Darwen Rotary who are leading the fund-raising, says they are very grateful for the interest and support shown by the town’s MP.

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“It is a much-loved and iconic feature of the town and, as a community, we have a duty to preserve our past for others to benefit in the years to come. It provides a unique focal point for the town and encourages healthy exercise to enjoy the open moors and wonderful views.”

A second approach is being made to the National Lottery Heritage Fund later this year and to other sources. Donations can be made either direct to Darwen Rotary or through their Just Giving page or in collecting boxes around town and in the Market Annexe.