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Ghost walk around town

CROWDS were in high spirits for Accrington's first ever ghost walk on Sunday night.

GHOSTLY tales... story teller Simon Entwistle.
GHOSTLY tales... story teller Simon Entwistle.

CROWDS were in high spirits for Accrington's first ever ghost walk on Sunday night.

Around 150 people flocked into the town centre to enjoy spooky tales and ghostly goings-on.

Guide Simon Entwistle, who donned a black Victorian costume, led the group on a stroll around the town, highlighting several sites with a claim to supernatural fame.

He spoke about Accrington's many heroes, including the famous Accrington Pals regiment and local industrialists, as well as the town's notorious historic villains and grisly murders.

The tour kicked off at the Town Hall and then it was on to Broadway where Simon, who has conducted tours all over East Lancashire, spoke about the old Unit Four Cinema ghost which is said to still roam the area to this day. He told how people had felt cold hands around their necks and seen the spectre of a man.

The heroic Pals came under the spotlight during the hour-long tour.

Describing the sacrifice the regiment made during the Battle of the Somme in 1916 as "one of the most famous stories in British military history", Simon went on to paint a vivid picture of the battle.

He said: "At one point, the firing pin on a German machine gun broke as the gun was firing so many bullets. Word travelled all the way down the German lines that day that these men were lions led by donkeys. It was just sheer carnage."

The tour then took a sinister turn as people heard the tale of John Whalley, who cut off his ex-wife's daughter's hands with a cut throat razor at a house in Victoria Street in the 1920s. Luckily she managed to survive and he was jailed for life.

Two more ghost stories then rounded off the tour, including the sightings of a beautiful woman who died in a fire in a monastery in Black Abbey Street with her lover, and another woman who is reputed to haunt the grounds of the Dunkenhalgh Hotel in Clayton-le-Moors.

Following the tour, Simon said he was delighted to see so many people and he is now planning further tours over the coming weeks.

He added: "Accrington is certainly one of the smallest towns where I have held a ghost walk but it is a very famous town. People from far and wide have heard of Accrington Stanley and the Pals so hopefully we will be able to attract more tourists to the area."

"It has a fantastic array of interesting characters and stories."

The Mayor of Hyndburn, Councillor Win Frankland, also went on the walk and said: "I thoroughly enjoyed it. I never knew there were so many stories."

Accrington Town Centre manager Bill Huntly said: "The turnout was excellent for Easter Sunday night. The signs are very encouraging that this will be a great success."

The tours will continue on some Wednesday nights. To find out more and confirm dates, contact Accrington Information Centre on 872595.


Stuart Pike
Deputy editor specialising in politics
Alex Bell
Bethany English
District reporter
Beth Abbit
Court reporter
Jon Macpherson
Kate Watkins
Reporter specialising in communities
Garth Dawson
Photographer and columnist