ACCRINGTON Stanley's conquering heroes are to be given Hyndburn's highest honour.

Owner and chairman Eric Whalley and the team are to be awarded the Freedom of the Borough, joining such illustrious names as the Queen's Lancashire Regiment which included the ill-fated Accrington Pals.

The news was announced by council leader Peter Britcliffe as congratulations poured in from all over the world following the club's historic return to the Football League.

The Reds won at Woking on Saturday to clinch promotion from the Nationwide Conference and end 44 years of hurt since they famously resigned from the League in the midst of a financial crisis in 1962.

Councillor Britcliffe said: "I am absolutely delighted that we are honouring Eric and the Reds in this way. They've done Accrington and Hyndburn proud with their historic achievement and it's fitting that they should receive the highest honour the council can bestow."

Labour leader Councillor David Myles said: "Stanley are part of the fabric of this community and have given everyone a real boost with their spectacular success.''

Mr Whalley, who has masterminded Stanley's amazing success with manager John Coleman, said: "It is a big honour and a tribute to all the hard work of the team and backroom staff who are brilliant but never get any recognition. I am delighted for the club."

The Freedom of the Borough ceremony will take place at a council meeting towards the end of the year.

Meanwhile, a victory parade is due to take place in Accrington on Sunday when the players will greet fans from an open-top bus.

The bus will leave the Interlink Express Stadium at 11am, passing along Whalley Road, Queens Road, Burnley Road, Eastgate, Abbey Street and Blackburn Road to the Town Hall where they will address the crowds after being greeted by the Mayor, Councillor Janet Storey, between 11.30am and 11.45am.

The team will then go inside for a private reception, which will finish at 1.30pm, when they will return to the bus and go back to the stadium which will be open to allow the public to watch them do a lap of honour.