ROYAL LETTER: Stainton village hall committee members Amanda Pettitt, Debbie Williams and Sue Foulston with the letter from Balmoral Castle
ROYAL LETTER: Stainton village hall committee members Amanda Pettitt, Debbie Williams and Sue Foulston with the letter from Balmoral Castle

A DALE village’s commemoration event to mark the centenary of the end of the First World War has been given a royal seal of approval.

The Queen has expressed appreciation to Stainton village hall committee, which will be honouring her “much-loved” uncle, Capt Fergus Bowes Lyon, during their Remembrance commemoration on Sunday, November 11.

Capt Bowes Lyon, the brother of the Queen Mother, is listed among soldiers from Stainton and Streatlam on the village memorial.

The Black Watch captain was killed while leading a charge on Hohenzollern Redoubt during the Battle of Loos in September 1915

The idea to write to the Queen about the plans to honour the village’s war heroes came from village hall member Sue Foulston.

She said: “We had a committee meeting and I said ‘wouldn’t it be nice to let the queen know?’

“I didn’t know the address, so I just wrote ‘Buckingham Palace, London’.

“I wrote it and two weeks later this came through the door. I was scared to open it in case I tore it.”

The letter from the Queen's lady-in-waiting, Philippa de Pass, said the Queen was interested to hear about the village hall’s event.

Her letter reads: “The Queen has the deepest respect for the courageous men who lost their lives defending their country and Her Majesty was glad to know you will be honouring those who are listed on the Stainton and Streatlam Memorial, including the much loved brother of Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother, Captain Fergus Bowes Lyon.

Blenkiron

“Her Majesty greatly appreciated your kind thought in writing as you did.”

Mrs Foulston said the Queen visited Stainton as a child with her mother and was frequently seen buying sweets at the Post Office. The royal family had strong links to the village at the time because of the Bowes Lyon family.

The committee has since had the letter framed and plan to hanging it next to the Roll of Honour in the hall.

Committee member Debbie Williams said: “I think it is really important.

“It is something different because there are not many paces that have that have a letter like that. It creates a focal point for the commemoration.”

The village hall will hold a service at the memorial on Sunday morning with the sounding of the Last Post, followed by a lunch at the hall.

The event is open to everyone in the village.

Mrs Williams said they would particularly like to have the descendents of the men on memorial to join the commemoration.

The committee has also produced an impressive poppy display at the entrance of the hall along with several Tommy figures made by Mrs Williams’ husband Sean.

Mrs Foulston made the poppies with felt she received free from Boyes, in Barnard Castle.