Thousands of people lined the streets of Accrington for a Freedom Parade.

Crowds of schoolchildren, parents, dignitaries and veterans enjoyed the 120-strong parade of the 1st Duke of Lancaster Regiment as they exercised their Freedom of the Borough.

Drums were beating and flags were flying as they marched from St John's Church to Accrington Town Hall and led by the 32-piece Band of The King's Division.

The parade coincided with the 98th anniversary of the Battle of the Somme where hundreds of Accrington Pals were killed.

Council leader Miles Parkinson said the parade was a 'glorious day' for Accrington.

He said: “It's with great pride that we had the Duke of Lancaster's Regiment here on this poignant day for the borough.

“It was pleasing to see so many people and all the school children.

“It was a bit like when the Queen and the Olympic Torch came. We aren't going to see something like this again in our lifetime.”

The troops halted outside the Town Hall and were inspected by Hyndburn Mayor Munsif Dad.

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Among the troops were three soldiers from Accrington.

Corporal Ben Simpson, 35, said: “It means a lot to me to be here and I'm very proud to have marched through Accrington.

“It was brilliant seeing all my friends and family and I was here with my fiance and grandma. It's humbling that so many people came out to see it.”

Commanding Officer of the Regiment, Lt Col George Maund, said they could not have asked for a better reception.

He said: “It's absolutely fabulous. It's just a huge privilege to be able to march for the Freedom of the Borough and on a day of such significance to Accrington.

“We have got a few soldiers from Accrington and it is particularly special for them.”

Tory councillor Peter Britcliffe said it was a 'wonderful and poignant ceremony'.

He said: “It's a wonderful day to be in Accrington to celebrate our Armed Forces. It's a great day in our history.”

“It's fantastic that so many people have turned out and the sun has shone again on the big occasion.”

Laura Pickup, a year 5 teacher at Hyndburn Park school, was at the parade with pupils from year 4 and 5.

She said: “The church service beforehand was brilliant and the atmosphere is amazing.

“It's great for the children to be here as we are going to be doing a World War One project in September.”