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8 July 2011
Tags: News

Visit Lancashire in 2012 for unforgettable events and once-in-a-lifetime experiences –  from heritage and sport, to the utterly unique

The year starts with a heritage experience with a difference, as a county-wide initiative to mark the 400th Anniversary of the Lancashire WitchTrails throws light on the hysteria that swept Lancashire in 1612 and made convicted ‘witches’ of a group of ordinary countrywomen from Pendle.  Accusations of deadly spells and witches sabbats, followed by their exhausting journey across the wilds of rural Lancashire to the gaol of Lancaster Castle and the final gallows;  it’s a tale that locals discuss to this day and in 2012 will rekindle interest in the dramatic landscape, picturesque villages and folklore that surrounds England’s most famous witch hunt.

Artworks, touring theatre, the Walking with Witches Trail, castle tours and events throughout the year, will highlight this 400th anniversary and reintroduce new generations to one of the most talked about and extraordinary episodes in English history. For information visitlancashire.com/witches2012

The eyes of the sporting world will fall on London in the summer of 2012 but not before they focus on Lytham St Annes, Lancashire, home of the Royal Lytham and St Annes Golf Club and host of this year’s Open Golf Championship 15-22 July 2012.

Join the faithful watching the action on one of the country’s most stunning championship golf courses or play a few holes on one of Lancashire’s fine fairways, the Fylde coast is the golfer’s destination of choice in 2012. Boasting four championship courses, superb hotels and restaurants, warm hospitality and the thrills of Blackpool and Lancashire’s breathtaking countryside on your doorstep – it’s a sporting break that couples and families can enjoy together.  For more information and help with planning your trip, go to visitlancashire.com/open2012

For the utterly unique and an event that is used in the English language to refer to something that’s infrequent but certainly worth the wait; 2012 sees the return of that once-every-twenty-years Preston Guild.

The Preston Guild is the last remaining Guild celebration in the UK, is England’s oldest festival and in 2012 will be the first Guild since Preston achieved city status in 2002.

It was 1179 when King Henry II gave the town its first royal charter and granted Preston the right to have a Guild Merchant, protecting the business of local traders, craftsmen and merchants.  These locals swore loyalty to the mayor and the Guild, to become a burgess (the name given to members of the Guild Merchant). 

The first reliably recorded celebration of the Guild was 1397 and from 1542 it was decided these should take place just once every generation (every 20 years) and would be celebrated with feastings, processions and great social gatherings.  Apart from one or two interruptions to their regularity, the Preston Guild has continued to be one of Lancashire’s biggest and most anticipated celebrations with memories handed down from generation to generation. 

In September 2011 the Guild Scrolls or scrolls of friendship, embark on their usual pre-Guild journey around the world collecting messages of goodwill and alerting old Prestonians to the impending celebrations and enticing them home. For the first time these scrolls will also have virtual incarnations, using the internet and GPS to track the progress of the physical scrolls.  You can track these and search through the events programme on prestonguild2012.com

Like all great events, anniversaries and parties they’re best enjoyed with good friends and family, so find visitlancashire on Facebook, join in the conversations around this unforgettable year on Twitter and find inspiration and ideas for your trip to Lancashire in 2012 on visitlancashire.com

 

<<ENDS>>

For media enquiries and familiarisation trip opportunities contact :

Anna Izza, Communications Manager, Lancashire and Blackpool Tourist Board

T: 01257 226614   

Notes to Editors

1.  Lancashire and Blackpool Tourist Board (LBTB) was set up in April 2004. It supports tourism businesses in the Lancashire and Blackpool sub-region by representing their interests regionally and nationally, by co-ordinating marketing activity, managing and developing the tourism product and working in partnership with industry. Activities in commercial membership, business development, `Welcome to Excellence` training, visitor services and marketing activity are all designed to improve quality and achieve common goals.  

In 2009 the Lancashire and Blackpool area attracted 58 million visitors who contributed £3 billion to the local economy and helped support 54,125 jobs.

2.  Lancashire Witches 400th Anniversary – The year was 1612, a turbulent time in England’s history, an era of religious persecution and superstition. James I was King, and feared rebellion, having survived the Gunpowder Plot of 1605. His fear and anger brought with it harsh penalties for anyone keeping the Catholic faith and his suspicious nature led to an obsession with witchcraft.  For more information www.visitlancashire.com/witches2012

3.  Golf – Royal Lytham & St Annes Golf Club was founded in 1886 and the present Course constructed in 1897. The Clubhouse celebrated its Centenary in 1998. It is one of the premier links courses in the world, host to ten Open Championships, two Ryder Cups and numerous other major tournaments including the Women’s and Seniors Open Championships. Northern hospitality has always been famous and Royal Lytham leads the way. www.royallytham.org  For specific golf related media enquires contact: Phil Graghill, Golf Marketing Services Ltd phil@gmsgolf.co.uk  Tel: 01438 718399

4.  Preston Guild – Preston Guild is a historic celebration dating back to 1179. It is the only Guild still celebrated in the UK and as such is unique. Held only once every twenty years, the Guild plays an important role in the development of Preston as a thriving and important Lancashire city. The changing times mean that each Guild has its own identity but shares a heritage of over 800 years. www.prestonguild2012.com

5.  Lancashire and Blackpool Tourist Board is supported by the Northwest Regional Development Agency (NWDA).The Northwest Regional Development Agency (NWDA) leads the economic development andregeneration of England’s Northwest and is responsible for:

·  Supporting business growth and encouraging investment

·  Matching skills provision to employer needs

·  Creating the conditions for economic growth

·  Connecting the region through effective transport and communication infrastructure

·  Promoting the region’s outstanding quality of life

www.nwda.co.uk, www.visitenglandsnorthwest.com

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