Thankful Village seeks its lost lion

The Meldon monument
The Meldon monument
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VILLAGERS are seeking help to find their lost lion as a tribute to their war heroes.

Meldon is the only ‘Thankful Village’ in Northumberland which saw all its men return home safely after fighting in the First World War.

There are only 51 such villages in the country and many have no marker to honour the residents who served their country. However, in Meldon a special stone monument was erected.

The stone still stands beside the old village school, but it is believed that a lion was once on top. The story goes that a schoolgirl accidentally knocked it off and it was broken beyond repair.

Now Meldon Parish Council is investigating the possibility of commissioning a new lion, and it is appealing for pictures of the old one to guide the design.

Parish Clerk Stephen Rickitt said: “The monument was put up after the First World War, but they couldn’t put a cross on it because nobody died in service.

“We understand there was a flagpole behind it and on the stone there was some sort of lion. We think it was probably an imperial lion, with its tail flicked out, but we just don’t know.

“The parish council is going to be looking at how the monument can be a bit more in the public eye and if someone has a photograph of the lion from the 1930s or 1940s, we could use that to go to stonemasons and get a price for having a new lion sculpted.

“We could then look for grants to do it.”

He added: “As far as we can see Meldon was the only ‘Thankful Village’ in Northumberland and we can’t find any in Scotland or Northern Ireland so it could be the most northerly one in the British Isles.”

Anyone with photographs of the original lion should contact Mr Rickitt at meldonparishcouncil@hotmail.co.uk or call 07856 577181.