Lych Gate War Memorial

At the beginning of March 2013, Rev Charles Hope, Mr Peter Ashworth (Architect) and Sarah Eden (Prudhoe Town Council) met at the Prudhoe Lych Gate, sited at the entrance to St Mary Magdalene Church, to initiate plans to update the town’s war memorial with the names of all those who have given their lives for their country.

Peter Ashworth described that WWI was referred to as ‘The Great War’ and ‘The war to end all wars’ and as such additional panels would not have been considered necessary at this time.  Sadly, WWII brought more suffering and loss of life, as did conflict in Cyprus, the Falklands and the Gulf War.  As a result additional panels are required and Prudhoe Town Council agreed to work closely with Mr Ashworth to finalise this long-standing but worthy project.

It is firmly believed that this should be a community project.  Prudhoe proudly supports the Royal British Legion on Remembrance Day, as a day of commemoration and commitment, and come out in their hundreds to honour all those who have given their lives, and those who continue to do so in the service of their country.  The Lych Gate is at the heart of Remembrance Day and it is right that local individuals and the community should come together to see this project through to completion.

The first step in this project has been to assemble the list of names.  The Prudhoe Lych Gate presently commemorates 91 names from WWI.  Inside the church there are 54 names from WWII, and 3 from post WWII commemorated.  Members of the Prudhoe & District Historical Society have been actively involved in researching possible missing names, mostly from the records of Our Lady and St. Cuthbert’s RC Church as well as other on-line sources.  David Walker of the History Society said “Everyone who gave his or her life for our country deserves to be remembered, and people currently working on this project have put a huge amount of effort and research into ensuring that no-one's name is forgotten.  However, it is still possible that some names may have been missed, and that is why it is important that all members of our community search their memories and their family records for the names of those who fought and died in any conflict, and to pass on those names to the council.”

The work to source names is on-going, however a draft list did appear in the Hexham Courant on Friday 8th November, alongside an appeal for names and/or information.

It is expected that following the final draft list of names, the project will be managed by architect Peter Ashworth, http://www.peterashwortharchitect.co.uk/.  The work requires certain permissions and approval as well as securing the specialised trades to carry it out.

The Council is very grateful for the support for the project provided by Iain Mutch and Mick Hardy from the Ryton and District War Memorials Project, http://www.rytonwarmemorials.org.uk, their advice and terms of reference for research have been invaluable.

The Town Council is also especially grateful to Prudhoe & District History Society, who have spent countless hours trawling websites and records in a bid to ensure accuracy.  David Walker, Len Franchetti and Bill Rochester have provided detailed information and they will continue in their research right up to the cut-off point.  If anyone does have any historical information relating to Prudhoe and its surrounding areas, wartime or otherwise, Prudhoe and District History Society would encourage you to share it with them as they are always keen to add to their dossier of research and photographs.

It was previously agreed that it would be a wonderful and fitting tribute if the finished Lych Gate could be unveiled at the Centenary of the outbreak of the First World War, unfortunately this will not be achieved.  Following information received that the cost of the project would be significantly higher than anyone anticipated, it was suggested that it would be appropriate to hold a Prudhoe Civic and Community Forum to discuss the matter further and find out what the townsfolk want.  A summary of the work leading up to the decision to hold a Civic and Community Forum can be read by clicking on the link below:

Summary Report for Civic & Community Forum

At this moment it is still unclear exactly how the full list of war heroes will be commemorated in the town, but at the Prudhoe Civic and Community Forum, held on 1st April 2014, it was agreed wholeheartedly that this was something that the people of Prudhoe wished to be achieved.  A report of the Civic and Community Forum can be read by clicking on the link below.

Civic and Community Forum - 1st April 2014

If you have any information relating to war causalities linked to Prudhoe please contact the Town Council office on (01661) 835487 or email prudhoetc@hotmail.com.

Please click on the link below to view the names thus far:

Draft list of names researched and those already honoured on the Lych Gate

 

58 Front Street The Spetchells Centre Prudhoe Northumberland NE42 5AA Tel: (01661) 835487 email: prudhoetc@hotmail.com
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