IT was a special day in the life of Blackburn Diocese today - the cathedral was to be re-dedicated.

And there was a Royal guest at the service, held in 1965, to mark the completion work on the former St Mary's parish church - Princess Margaret.

It was her second visit to the town in two years - in 1963 she had been the guest of honour at King George's Hall, the year the Queen celebrated the10th anniversary of her coronation.

Before the special service at the cathedral, the clergy walked in parade from Northgate, via King William and Church Streets, as traffic came to a standstill and townsfolk packed the pavements to watch the spectacle.

Their delight at such an occasion is obvious - after almost 40 years since the parish church of St Mary the Virgin had become a cathedral, the scheme had at last been completed.

For the Second World War had intervened and when reconstruction could begin again in earnest, rising costs had put paid to the original scheme.

Numerous churches are known to have stood on the site - the foundation is believed to date from the sixth century - including a Norman edifice and another from the14th century.

A completely new church was built in 1818 and this forms the nave of today's cathedral.