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Injured soldier’s own thigh bone used for First World War ‘trench art’

A brooch crafted from a piece of human thigh bone is among the items selected for an exhibition about the First World War at the University of Leeds.

Little is know about the rather macabre piece of jewellery, which is part of the University’s archive of items and documents from the war. It was made from a piece of Sergeant Thomas Kitching’s thigh bone and is thought to have been given to his sweetheart, Lizzie Hunter.

Sgt Kitching, who served with the 12th Battalion, Durham Light Infantry, had his left leg shattered when wounded on the Somme on 7 July 1916. The brooch, together with a portrait of Sgt Kitching and postcards sent to Lizzie at her Birtley, County Durham, address, were donated to the University. He survived the war and went on to marry Lizzie in Chester-le-Street, County Durham, shortly after the war ended in 1918.

The unusual piece of jewellery is among many items selected for a special free exhibition in The Stanley and Audrey Burton Gallery at the University, which runs until Saturday 20 December.

Bedale Hoard to go on display after conservation work

The life savings of a rich Viking will go on display today after undergoing conservation.

This was how the collection looked before conservation

The Bedale Hoard was found by metal detectorists in 2012 and includes a silver neck ring. The collection was bought by the Yorkshire Museum earlier this year following donations from the public.


Cops put freeze on festive crime with musical message

Three police community support officers in Huddersfield have come up with a rather unusual crime prevention message for the festive period.

The officers decided to capitalise on the success of Disney's hit film Frozen and recorded a version of their own - hoping to inform people about keeping their homes and belongings safe over the next few weeks.

Two of the enterprising officers and some youngsters involved in the video came into Calendar's studio, but first let's take a look at their festive musical message.

Musical cops hope to put festive freeze on criminals

Musical PSCOs in West Yorkshire are aiming to put a festive freeze on criminals after covering a hit song from the Disney film Frozen for a crime prevention video.

Officers from the Kirklees Central NPT hit the high notes for their rendition of hit song ‘Let It Go’ from Disney’s Frozen which they’ve refashioned into advice on how to stay safe and a warning about drink driving.

The song was written, sung and recorded by PCSO Jon Arey, PCSO Paul Simpkins and PCSO Morgan Cockcroft in their own time and using their own video equipment.

Sergeant Zaheer Abbas assisted the officers in pulling the project together with partners and others to get it ready for its festive debut.

"I am really proud of the lads efforts in using their talents to create a video that will hopefully entertain, amuse and also inform in equal measures.

"The choice of the Frozen song was unanimous with the team due to its catchy lyrics, immense popularity and appeal to all ages.

"Reworking the lyrics has resulted in a crime prevention take on the smash hit song which puts the message across in a fun yet informative manner. "Officers and staff have been working alongside a number of schools and community youth groups in order to make this video.

"We want to thank everyone involved for helping us pull the project together including Huddersfield University who provided assistance by allowing the team to use their recording studio to capture the singing and also provided technical advice.

"We are also particularly grateful to the Children of Spring Grove Junior School Huddersfield and their sign language choir."

– Insp Jon Dunkerley, Kirklees NPT

The video can be viewed on YouTube


Five-year-old becomes first female bishop

A medieval custom was revived at the weekend by a North Yorkshire church when a five year old girl donned mitre and cope and was made a bishop.

Rosie Wilson, the Bairn Bishop Credit: Diocese of West Yorkshire and the Dales

Rosie Wilson of Selside near Horton-in-Ribblesdale volunteered to become the ‘Bairn Bishop’ during the evening service at St Oswald’s Church, Horton-in- Ribblesdale. She was re-enacting being one of the ‘bairn’ or ‘boy’ bishops who, before the Reformation, would be elected on the Feast of St Nicholas (December 6th) and held office until the Feast of the Holy Innocents (Childermass – December 28th). During that time the bairn bishop would be dressed in specially made, boy-sized, vestments. Some even went on visitations in the city and collected offerings.

The custom spread to parish churches and was only put a stop to by Henry V111 in an edict, saying “it was a childish observance when little childer be strangely decked to counterfeit the Ordinary”.

That didn’t stop Rosie, who stepped forward when Priest-in-charge, the Revd Stephen Dawson asked for a volunteer during his sermon. “The ceremony started by accident” said Stephen. “ I talked about the Bairn Bishops, their visits to parishes in their Diocese, especially on horseback in York, their authority to declare holidays and deliver sermons (written for them).

“We made a mitre from red card and I asked if anyone wanted to try on the chasuble. Rosie, as the youngest present at Evening Prayer quickly left her back pew near the font and walked right up to the chancel.”

Now that Rosie has volunteered, Stephen says that, just as in medieval times, he hopes her ‘duties’ won’t stop with dressing up at the front of church. “Rosie will be doing it again for school assembly this week and I hope she will be at the carol services and Christingles.”

St Oswald's is one of the most complete Norman churches in Yorkshire and sits in the shadow of Penyghent, the smallest of The Three Peaks. Stephen said that although there were no long term plans to revive the centuries old tradition, it was certainly an appropriate venue to hold the service.

Hundreds of Santas hope to raise thousands of pounds

Hundreds of Santas are hoping they will raise thousands of pounds in today's 'Chase the Pudding' event in Sheffield. The money raised will help support the work of the British Heart Foundation. Last month, the BHF announced plans to invest £500,000 in funding the University of Sheffield's purchasing of an MRI scanner. This technology will create highly detailed images of the heart, lungs and blood vessels and can help in diagnosing conditions such as pulmonary hypertension.

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