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Sand portraits honour Great War dead in Blackpool

A beach drawing of Lance Corporal John Edward Arkwright, one of the first Lancastrians killed during the war Credit: Press Association

On a windswept, rain-lashed beach, the portrait of just one of the hundreds of thousands of men who left these shores to fight in the First World War never to return home emerged from the sand.

Working from the early hours at low tide, artists and locals used stencils and rakes as the face of young Lance Corporal John Edward Arkwright emerged in the sand beneath their feet.

Volunteers create beach drawings at the Pages of the Sea commemorative event at Blackpool Credit: Press Association

The project, for the centenary of Armistice Day, was inspired by film maker Danny Boyle as an informal, nationwide gesture of remembrance. On beaches from Cornwall to the Shetland Isles, and Pembrokeshire to Donegal, portraits of the fallen were sculpted in the sand, to say thank you for their sacrifice before a collective goodbye as the sea comes in and washes away their images forever.

As morning broke through the gloom in Blackpool, members of the public gathered to lend a hand and pay their personal respects.

Volunteers create beach drawings at the Pages of the Sea commemorative event at Blackpool Credit: Press Association

A single white rose was placed on the sand portrait of L/Cpl Arkwright, born in 1890 during Queen Victoria's reign, just down the road from Blackpool in Lancaster - just one of the thousands of patriotic volunteers eager to serve his country.

He landed in France with the 1st Battalion, King's Own Royal Lancaster Regiment on August 23, 1914.

Three days later he was dead, killed in action during the battle of Le Cateau.

The former police officer with the Lancashire Constabulary was aged 23 and left a wife, Isabella.