Around 300 members of the civic and business communities and members of the public from across Lancashire gathered to mark the 100th anniversary of the North and Western Lancashire Chamber of Commerce.
The chamber, with offices in Preston and Blackpool, has more than 1,600 members providing well over half the private sector jobs in the area.
The organisation kicked off its centenary year with a special civil proclamation on Preston flag market yesterday.
That was followed by a commemorative, invitation-only service at Preston Minster, conducted by the Vicar of Preston, Father Timothy Lipscomb.
Following the service, a reception was held at the Minster.
Babs Murphy, the chamber’s chief executive, said: “It was a suitably special way to start what is a milestone year for everyone associated with the Chamber.
“I was heartened to see the turnout from members of the public at the Flag Market; we had always made it clear that we wanted as large a turnout as possible alongside our business and civic guests.”
Representatives of the business and civic community gathered in a special seated area on the flag market before the formal proclamation was delivered by the Lord Lieutenant of Lancashire, Lord Shuttleworth. The marching band of the King’s Division led the delegation through the streets of Preston to the Minster.
Once at the Minster, guests heard addresses from dignitaries including Ms Murphy, the Chamber’s president, Norman Tenray, incoming president Dawn Cheetham, and Preston City Council’s Chief Executive Lorraine Norris.
Yesterday’s milestone event was the first in a series of commemorative events which the Chamber has planned throughout the course of the next 12 months.
These will include a reception at the House of Commons, a black tie business dinner and sponsorship packages at matches involving Fylde Rugby Club, Preston Grasshoppers, Preston North End and Blackpool.
A limited edition yearbook has also been produced.
For more coverage, see the next issue of Lancashire Means Business, out early next month.