RED rose pride is still blooming in the heart of Nelson – despite what the rest of Lancashire might be up to.
Council bosses in Pendle remain the only local authority to make a major deal out of the county’s ‘birthday’.
And townsfolk also took the opportunity to celebrate the heritage of Victory V sweets, jelly babies and the cotton industry, all of which make Nelsonians proud.
The gathering was the first to be held within the confines of Nelson’s new £2.1million ‘high street’.
Town crier and former mayor Coun Tony Beckett was on hand as his successor Coun Nadeem Ahmed flicked the switch on the Christmas lights.
TV star Jim Bowen, a former Accrington teacher, said: “People need to remember their roots and what makes Lancashire great.”
Former World Superbike champion Carl Fogarty, from Blackburn, said more needed to be done to raise the profile of the occasion.
He said: “I wasn’t aware there was such a day. I’m a proud Lancashire lad.
"I carry the Lancashire rose wherever I go around the world on my arm. I’d love to get involved.”
Greek-born Dennis Mendoros, managing director of Kelbrook aerospace company Euravia and former High Sherriff of Lancashire, said: “We need to celebrate Lancashire’s unique heritage.”
Mike Blomeley, Pendle Council leader, said: “We are proud to be part of the county of Lancashire and we want to put Nelson on the map.”
Charlie Briggs, Burnley Council leader, said Lancashire Day should be awarded the same significance as St George’s Day.
He said: “I don’t think Burnley is doing anything substantial at this moment.
"People have to beg our pardon. It’s passed us by this year with all the things we have had going on.”
Coun Dave Harling, executive member for regeneration at Blackburn with Darwen Council, said: “While we were unable to put something together in enough time this year, we would certainly look to get involved in celebrating Lancashire Day next year as there is a lot to celebrate here.”
Alyson Barnes, Rossendale Council leader, said: “Perhaps there is an awareness issue and confusion about the date.”
Miles Parkinson, Hyndburn Council leader, said a lack of communication and cooperation between the district authorities and Lancashire County Council needed to be improved for 2012.
He said: “Normally we just fly the flag and have a few words said by the town crier.
“This is something we do really need to do some work on because Yorkshire Day is very well promoted and Lancashire in the past has taken a back seat.”
Anna Izza, communications executive at Lancashire and Blackpool Tourist Board (LBTB), said: “I’m not sure it is an issue of expense as much as one of awareness.”