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As the nation prepares to pause and reflect on this Remembrance Day, the Archbishop of York has praised the work of Lancashire school pupils whose detective work led to a soldier’s name being added to his village war memorial.

The Archbishop commented after hearing about the story of their efforts, which featured in the media last week.

Gunner Richard Southworth died in 1920, after the memorial was commissioned and installed in the village. But his name was never added alongside those of his comrades from Mawdesley who made the ultimate sacrifice. That didn’t deter the year 6 pupils of Mawdesley St Peter's CofE School.

The pupils (all of whom have since moved on to Bishop Rawstorne CofE Academy nearby) were working towards the Archbishop of York’s Young Leaders’ Award during the last school year when they discovered Gunner Southworth’s story.

Spurred on by class teacher Heidi Jackson, they turned detective and began to investigate why some soldiers were interred in the graveyard but not named on the village War Memorial. As a result of their intervention documented in full in this story the name of Gunner Southworth, who was wounded in the 1914-1918 conflict and died, not long after, on July 12, 1920, aged 35, is now forever on the Mawdesley War Memorial.

The Archbishop of York, The Most Rev and Rt Hon. Dr John Sentamu said: “The Year 6 pupils of Mawdesley St Peter's Church of England School, Lancashire have done some amazing work as part of their Young Leaders’ Award, developed by my Youth Trust. 

“In discovering more about people such as Gunner Southworth and in looking at how we can serve others and help in our own communities, we truly discover and learn more about ourselves in the process. 

“And today, on Remembrance Day, we stand together in gratitude and in remembrance of all who served. ‘When You Go Home, Tell Them of Us and Say, For Your Tomorrow, We Gave our Today’. In memory of those who gave their lives, Father God, make us better men and women, boys and girls, and give peace in our time. Amen.”