From Preston scrapyard to the Queen...

Queen Elizabeth II unveils a plaque inside Accrington Market Hall during her visit to the town.

Queen Elizabeth II unveils a plaque inside Accrington Market Hall during her visit to the town.

A builder has spoken of his pride after a stone coat of arms discovered in Preston was unveiled by the Queen.

Ribchester businessman John Wade was invited to attend a ceremony in Accrington as thousands of people greeted Her Majesty and Prince Philip.

The Queen unveiled the 19th century artefact at the town’s market hall as part of her Diamond Jubilee celebrations.

The stone was given to Accrington by Mr Wade after it came into his possession, many years after its previous home in Hyndburn Road was demolished.

The 48-year-old said: “It was a coat of arms that a friend of mine had over in a development in Warrington.

“He said it wasn’t in keeping with what he was doing so I went over there and purchased it off him. He bought it from a reclamation yard in Preston.

“I was going to put it in one of my developments in Ribchester, but I did a little bit of research on the internet and it came up as the Accrington Coat of Arms.

“We had a meeting and decided that it didn’t belong in a private development.

“It’s part of the history and the heritage of Accrington and Hyndburn, so I offered to give it back as a gift to the town.”

An example of Victorian civic heraldry, the Accrington Coat of Arms was granted on August 26, 1879.

Mr Wade, who has been in the building trade for more than 30 years and runs John Wade Groundworks Ltd at Oakbank Farm in Stoneygate Lane, met with the chief executive of Hyndburn Council, who told him he a special occasion in mind for the presentation.

The dad-of-four said: “I offered it back to the town not knowing that they were going to get a royal visit.

“When we discussed what was going to happen I was delighted.

“I got to meet the Queen, presented it to her, shook her hand and described the coat of arms to her and answered her questions. I was very honoured.”




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