Hero Barnard Castle brothers’ story remembered in song and a special service
A TRIBUTE song dedicated to a family who lost five brothers in the Great War has been unveiled.
Margaret Smith, from Barnard Castle, lost five of her sons during the bloody conflict – only her sixth son, Wilfred, survived.
Rotherham teacher Chris Clayton heard the Smith family story and was inspired to write a song about their loss.
On the 100th anniversary of the death of the first brother, Robert Smith, descendants of the family gathered at The Bowes Museum on Monday to hear the first public performance of the charity single, “The Boys from the Poor House Yard”.
Wilfred Smith’s granddaughter, Amanda Harrison, said she was shocked when Mr Clayton appeared at her door in Barnard Castle.
“I was honoured someone had taken such interest in my family,” she said.
“When Chris played me the song I was really moved – it was amazing. I am delighted to be here and proud it will raise money.”
Money from sales of the single will go to Help for Heroes and the Royal British Legion. Ms Harrison praised Mr Layton for making the two hour journey from South Yorkshire on a number of occasions.
“He has been great – he’s been going back and forward to get it knitted together in such a short space of time,” she said.
“We only need 8,000 downloads for it to get in the charts – that would be great.”
Mr Clayton was joined by a choir of 106 children from Barnard Castle School, Teesdale School and his own inner city school, Thrybergh Academy.
“When I researched the family it almost broke my heart so it was not difficult to write it,” said Mr Clayton.
“Once I had written the song, I wrote to contact Amanda but got no response.
“So one Sunday morning I drove up in the car, knocked on her door and expected to be brushed off the doorstep.
“But we had a long chat and now we’ve become quite good friends.”
A memorial service led by Reverend Alec Harding and Reverend Darren Moore commemorated the five brothers at the war memorial in the museum grounds.
Representing the queen on the day, Durham Lord Lieutenant Sue Snowdon, laid a wreath at the foot of the memorial alongside school students.
Ms Snowdon said: “I think we need to recognise it’s a wonderful story. For me it represents service, sacrifice and a mother’s love.”
“The Boys from the Poor House Yard” is available to download from itunes now.