Kendal Pals play wins £2,000 funding

Walter Dixon

Walter Dixon

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KENDAL Town Council has awarded £2,000 in funding to an ambitious First World War centenary project by Queen Katherine School.

‘Kendal Pals’ is a fact-based play telling the story of three Kendal lads who volunteered at the war’s outbreak and sadly never came back.

The project is a collaboration between local historian and town councillor Paul Bramham and two of the school’s staff – History teacher Stephen Roberts and Drama teacher Jonathan Linakar.

Mr Linakar is writing the script and hopes to stage three performances in November in the school’s Senior Hall.

“We’re absolutely delighted to receive these funds,” said Mr Linakar. “It’s fantastic the council have agreed to support us.”

The play will begin by outlining the lives of the protagonists and will show the three days on which they were killed.

Mr Linakar said: “The first lad we focus on is called Walter Dixon – a really big guy and a terrific rugby player for the town.

“He was first of the three to die in the Somme in 1916 but made it into the German trenches before being killed.

“The sad epilogue to that is that his mother wouldn’t accept he was dead and in 1920 made a trip to France with a picture of him and went walking round asking people if they’d seen him.

“The second to die was Thomas Wilson who got into the army by lying about his age and claiming to be 19 when he was actually 16.

“His life had been full of half-truths – he got jobs at a paper mill and then as a doctor’s driver by pretending to be older than he was.

“The third man is Sergeant John Grant, who won a medal for distinguished conduct and died not long before the end of the war.

“I hope the play will instil in people a sense of pride in their town and the sacrifices it has made.”

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KTC has allocated funds towards two other WWI commemorations – £200 for a commemoration event by Fellside Forum on June 28, and £1,000 towards a staging of ‘Benjamin’s War Requiem’ by Cumbria Choral Initiative on November 8.

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