Residents and businesses have been asked to nominate famous people and places in Blackburn to be honoured by a new set of ‘blue plaques’.

The council has concluded a deal with local historians to protect and replace existing commemorative plates.

Now, Blackburn with Darwen regeneration boss Maureen Bateson wants to create a ‘blue plaque trail’ across the town.

She is looking for historic residents and sites of interest recalling past events to add to the current 24.

The appeal for residents to come up with the new names is part of a Blackburn Heritage Festival which will take place from September 11-14.

Responsibility for the plaques rested with Blackburn Civic Society until it folded a few years ago.

Blackburn Local History Society took over the list of the existing plaques.

As scrap metal thieves can target the distinctive badges, they asked the borough council earlier this year for permission to maintain, replace and add to the commemorative plates dotted around the town.

The matter came to head after the plaque marking Blackburn Rovers benefactor Jack Walker’s birthplace at 96 Randal Street, Audley, was stolen in February.

Coun Bateson oversaw the new agreement as part of a series of measures under the heading of ‘Loving Our Heritage’ aimed at attracting visitors to the town.

She said: “A new blue plaque could be placed to mark the life of someone famous connected with a site or a landmark historical event.

“This initiative is aimed at celebrating the rich and varied history we have in the town and showing we are proud of what has been achieved by individuals or as a result of significant events.”

Local History Society secretary Ray Smith said: ‘I’m delighted to see Blackburn’s proud past being celebrated.”

The festival will include talks, tours and walks at historical venues, a carousel and helter skelter outside the town hall, clog dancing on Church Street and an outdoor vintage market.