A COMMEMORATIVE event to mark the closure of a Dales school after 360 years of service took place to remember its history.

Blue skies, inspiring displays, strawberry teas, more than 200 visitors with memories to share were the perfect ingredients to create a day to remember in the history of Arkengarthdale Church of England Primary School.

With the unique Arkengarthdale landscape providing a backdrop for the event, crowds flocked to see the exhibition which tracked the schools history.

The rich heritage of the school was celebrated with visitors from across the country, reaching out to those who were evacuated to the school during the war.

Organisers welcomed a large alumni which included Clarice Grimshaw (nee Hird) who, at 88, was the oldest ex-student at the event.

Mrs Grimshaw was joined by Bill Martin, his sister Eileen, and Norman Patterson who were evacuated from Gateshead and London during the war.

It was a special day for Clark Stones, the oldest ex-student resident in Arkengarthdale, as the celebration coincided with his 85th birthday.

Mr Stones was delighted to attend the event and together with his sons Robert and Philip, and grandchildren Jack and Olivia, represented three generations of his family educated at the school.

Mr Stones said: "It is a great honour to have been a student at Arkengarthdale School which has served the dale so well for 360 years.

"As a pupil, I remember the surge of children and staff as the evacuees joined us, many of whom returned to live here in later years, such is the draw of Arkengarthdale.

"Throughout the school's history one thing has been constant and that is the marvellous support from staff, children, families and friends.

"This has ensured our students have always received an excellent education and the very best start in life, going on to do great things."

As well as the Stones family, there were a number of other families present who had attended the school for many generations.

This included the Atkinsons from Faggergill, with three generations of ex-students at the celebration.

Charles Cody, chair of governors, said: "The event was a fitting tribute to a school which has touched the lives and holds a special place in the hearts of so many people.

"The afternoon could not have been better and was made possible by an incredible team of volunteers who stepped forward to offer their help and support.

"It certainly made the day even more special and demonstrates, despite the closure of the school, the underlying and enduring strength of our community."

The school’s governing body wrote to North Yorkshire County Council late last year to request the county council begin consulting on a proposal to close the school at the end of the current academic year.

Pupil numbers had fallen to an unsustainable level despite all efforts to attract more children to the school.

Photographs from the event can be viewed on the facebook page called Arkengarthdale C of E School – celebrating 360 years.