A LUNESDALE village has commemorated a remarkable slice of Great War fortune.

Arkholme is one of just 54 villages in England and Wales where everyone who went to serve in the Great War returned alive.

Known as the Thankful Villages, these communities have tended to keep a dignified or embarrassed silence as other villages around them mourned their losses.

One consequence is that they have not had a memorial for acts of remembrance.

But now this has changed.

At a special ceremony on Sunday, Arkholme - which saw 59 men serve and all of them return - unveiled its first memorial dedicated ‘for all who have lived and died in the service of others in war and peace’.

The stone, sited at St John the Baptist's Church, was donated by Leapers Wood Quarry, Carnforth, and inscribed by Normal Silcock.

At the service yesterday, guests of honour included:

  • Marie Barton of Leapers Wood;
  • Norman Silcock;
  • Gerry Lees, who spoke at the service, who has conducted extensive new research into Arkholme’s history as a Thankful Village, including the histories of all of the 59 named on Arkholme’s Great War Roll of Honour, soon to be published as a local history book;
  • Norman Thorpe, the national Thankful Villages researcher;
  • Athene Heynes, Arkholme Thankful Villages project co-ordinator;
  • Angus Ross (who had travelled up from Portsmouth), grandson of Frank Booth, who is named on the Roll of Honour;
  • Sally Sharp, granddaughter of Frank Pearson, who is named on the Roll of Honour;
  • Derek Webster and Doreen Webster, son and daughter of Frank Webster, who is named on the Roll of Honour;
  • Christine Burn, local playwright and theatre director, who read the two poems written specially for Arkholme (by published poets): 'The Thankful Village' by David Tait, and 'These Thankful Fields' by Avril Newey.