Cumbria Blue Badge Guide gives tours for SSAFA

16 October 2020

Over the summer months Tess Pike, Blue Badge Tourist Guide, invited residents and visitors to join her for a series of socially distanced guided walks to raise money for SSAFA, the Armed Forces charity, and to mark the 100th anniversary of the Unknown Warrior.

The series of public walks has now finished, but Tess is continuing to offer guided walks to organised groups – either in person, or by virtual tour on the Zoom platform.

The guided walks take place in St Mary’s Churchyard in Kirkby Lonsdale and highlight World War One stories; including those of the town’s most decorated serviceman, Brigadier General Louis John Wyatt – the man who selected the body of the Unknown Warrior 100 years ago this November.

The tomb of the Unknown Warrior holds the body of an unidentified British soldier, sailor, or airman killed on a European battlefield during the First World War. The Unknown Warrior represents all members of the Armed Forces who lost their lives in World War One. The warrior was buried in Westminster Abbey, London on 11 November 1920.

Tess Pike, Blue Badge Tourist Guide said: “The story of Brigadier General Wyatt is a subject which has fascinated me for over 20 years - ever since I first heard about his connection with the Unknown Warrior from George Harrison, a former Merchant Navy seaman who is now in his 90s, but used to lead guided walks around Kirkby Lonsdale. He told me how, when he used to come home on leave, he would go to visit the Brigadier, who would regale him with tales of his experiences at the ‘Battle of Andaman’, amongst others.

“Being very aware that this November will be the 100th anniversary of the Brigadier’s role in the story of the Unknown Warrior, I used lockdown time to research the stories not just of General Wyatt, but those of several of Kirkby Lonsdale’s men who went off to war, and developed them into a World War I themed walk around the town’s churchyard, which I designed to be of interest to a general audience as opposed to those with a specific interest in military history.

“I was keen to aid the work of a forces charity, and the more contact that I have with the SSAFA Cumbria branch, the more I realise the breadth of help available to the families of serving soldiers, sailors and airmen. I hoped that offering the walks would help to raise awareness of SSAFA in the local area.”

If you would like to join Tess for a guided walk in a Kirkby Lonsdale, or on a virtual tour to mark this momentous anniversary of 100 years, please email Tess.Pike@btinternet.com.

A minimum donation of £7 per person is asked to support the work of the SSAFA, the Armed Forces charity.

Please feel free to call our Forcesline if you need any support.

0800 731 4880

We are open 09:00 - 17:30,
Monday to Friday.