Wills, Kate to NW England in last pre-wedding trip

BLACKBURN, England Adoring crowds lined up early in Blackburn to get a glimpse of the royal couple, who plan to marry April 29 at Westminster Abbey in London. Lillian Sleigh braved a steady rain in her wheelchair, which was decorated with union jack flags and pictures of the royal couple.

"I came here early, even though it's pouring with rain, to make sure I get the best chance of seeing William and Kate," she said. "They're a lovely couple and as for William, his mother Diana would have been so proud of him."

Shops and pubs were decorated with flags.

Arriving first at the Darwen Aldridge Community Academy, William was to give a short speech to launch a "prince's award" for SkillForce, one of the educational charities he supports.

They also planned to visit Witton Country Park in the afternoon as part of William's commitment to protect outdoor recreational spaces. Crowds swelled there in the morning despite the damp, leaden skies, and police were out in force.

Middleton was to provide the ceremonial start for a race and William was to observe soccer training. They also planned to watch a disabled cycling event.

Since announcing their engagement in November, the two have traveled to Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland, introducing Middleton to royal duties and to the British public.

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