A tiny village school facing closure in coming months is reaching out to alumni for a celebration of its history, perhaps for the final time.
A consultation is under way over the future of Arkengarthdale School, serving a small hamlet within the Yorkshire Dales, as its pupil numbers fall to just five.
But the village school, which once hosted a great number of children evacuated to the countryside in wartime years, is this summer celebrating its 360th year. Now governors, extending an open invitation to those across the country with a connection to the school, are to host an event on the afternoon of July 6 to capture its resonance in the community.
They promise strawberry tea in a marquee on its playing fields, as they issue calls for memorabilia, photographs and stories from students and villagers past and present.
“Arkengarthdale School has an incredible legacy, faithfully serving the families of the dale and beyond, whilst being at the heart of our community for 360 years,” said Charles Cody, chair of governors,
“There are so many stories to tell and memories to share. We look forward to welcoming and reuniting those with a love for the school and marking this landmark in the dale’s history.”
The event is backed by the parish council, sports association, friends of the school and the church, and a dedicated Facebook group under the name of Arkengarthdale School has been created as members seek to grow their reach.
“Over the years, many Arkengarthdale students have been born and bred in the dale, however others have come from different places and backgrounds,” governors added.
“Going back to the war years, a large number of evacuees boosted the roll.
“What will draw everyone together is that they will be forever connected by the time they spent at Arkengarthdale School and being part of this very special family.”