SKELSMERGH Parochial Church Council (PCC) has received £5,900 from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) to support ‘The Men on the Memorial’ project.

Awarded through HLF’s First World War: then and now programme, the project will focus on restoring the First World War memorial gate at the Church of St John the Baptist which serves Skelsmergh, Patton and Scalthwaiterigg.

Villagers, who have also raised £1,000, will also research and stage an exhibition about the stories of the 25 men whose names feature on the memorial cross. The exhibition will be held in the Skelsmergh Community Hall during the weekend November 8 and 9.


Researched material will also be put online on the parish website and on the crowd-sourced websites of national and international organisations like the Imperial War Museum and Europeana.

As well as presenting stories focusing on the names on the memorial, there will be a space for those who have moved into the area to add their own personal First World War photographs, letters and stories.

They will be collected in a centenary album and will be kept open until the end of the centenary commemorations. This will form a lasting legacy of the project in the centenary year and create a picture of the community today.

Parish historian Tony Cousins said: ‘This project will help to bring home the impact that the First World War had in Skelsmergh. Despite being a small community, the parish lost a substantial number of men. The project will enable local people in Skelsmergh to come together to preserve the heritage of the people who lived through the First World War.’

Church warden Helen Atkinson said: "We are thrilled to have received the support of the Heritage Lottery Fund to allow us to conserve the memorial lych gate. It will help ensure that it is in a good condition as it enters its next century."

Sara Hilton, Head of HLF North West, said: “The impact of the First World War was far reaching, touching and shaping every corner of the UK and beyond. We have already invested more than £45 million in commemorative initiatives, including local community projects like this at Skelsmergh, which will enable people to explore and record their local wartime history and commemorate the people of the parish who were affected during the conflict.”