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The Rector of Tarleton’s weekly News-letter to the serving men and women of the village, which finds its way every week into many corners of the world, to every battle front of the Allied armies, as well as into all parts of this country where Tarletonians are stationed, has now gained additional fame, for it is the subject of a special article which appeared on November 25th last year in the “Union Jack” Third African edition, the newspaper for the British fighting forces.
The article is published in a column entitled “Corner-Stone” which features an article of unusual quality and interest each day.
The writer picked or the “Rector’s Weekly News” in a Naafi canteen in Naples. Apparently it immediately struck a journalistic eye as being something out of the usual run of things, and the following article resulted:-
It was just a small parish magazine issued by a local vicar for the lads and lasses who had gone out as Service men and women into the wide world.
I found it in a N.A.A.F.I. in Italy. Its date was August 12th, and it came from Tarleton, Lancashire.
It was cyclostyled and was headed with a picture of the Pennine church. It was addressed, ‘My dear boys and girls’.
I thought this four-sheet paper was of world wide interest.
The rector apologised. He said he had had to postpone his double summer issue “containing a few verses composed by some of you” because of other work. He was busy, he said, with the British Legion Carnival.
“Things are going well for the Allies”, he wrote. “You are doing your part exceedingly well.”
And as I read his sheet I saw Northern England in front of me. I saw the small determined towns between Lancashire and Yorkshire, the cloth-capped men, the debonair girls with lively walk, the lads in the stone-built schools waiting only to get out of school.
“Rosie Twist”, I read, “had been chosen for our Village Queen but she was sent to the W.R.N.S., and almost immediately was sent abroad. We chose her first Lady-in-Waiting, Brenda Ward, and crowned her.”
“Wet afternoon,” said the Rector’s Weekly News, “but the Queen was successfully crowned between the showers.”
“ Mrs. John Grayson has presented her husband with a son.”
“Ruth Sutton, Mayo Cottages, Ralph’s Wife’s Lane, Banks, was married on Saturday, in the Methodist Chapel, Banks, to John Taylor, of Moss-lane, who is in the Navy.”
A reader writes from India to the rector to say, “I have just met Nora Pearson, Eric Hind and Lewis Clark. Four Tarletonians together so far from the village. Truly an occasion of note.”
“I recently saw a flying-fish actually fly on to the forecastle,” says a naval lad from Hesketh Bank, neighbouring parish to Tarleton. “I had it for breakfast,” he adds, “and I can assure you that it was very welcome after weeks of tinned food.”
The four closely-typed pages carried me from Italy to our homeland. I thought that one day such extracts would go into a book of our times, for from such straws are the bricks of literature made.
The small chit-chat, the letters from home, the letters to home; the rector’s weekly news-letter telling of the meeting of four villagers in India - these will one day make the background of a book. It will be a book in which the fall of Mussolini is merely an incident in a conversation, a conversation which will tell, “Bob Harrison, who comes from Wigan and stays for his holidays at Cookson’s Basket Shop, was married last Saturday.”
“Congratulations to all who have been promoted and married,” writes one reader to the rector, and throughout the news is the constant mention of marriages and births, the unchanging life of the village.
I read every word of the rector’s letter. I forgot the N.A.A.F.I.. I forgot Italy. I remembered the villages of Britain , and felt proud of the villages from which we all sprang.”
The Rector, the Rev. L.N. Forse, M.A., Hon. C.F., was informed by one of the lads abroad that the article had appeared in the “Union Jack”, and later another friend of the Rector’s received a copy of the paper from Italy and sent it on to Mr. Forse, who naturally was delighted to hear that the news-letter was being read with such interest. Tarletonians are amused to know that the name of their village conjured up in the eye of the article writer the picture of a rugged little stone-built town perched on the slopes of the Pennines. However, if the writer could actually see Tarleton we think he would not be disappointed, and would be pleased with the quaint West Lancashire village, where the houses, old and new, cluster around the fine church, with its graceful steeple, and where the hand of twentieth century progress has not yet removed all the old-world features of thatched roofs, old farmhouses, great barns and quaint place names.

The “Weekly News” is just one of the features which the Rector crowds into a life of overflowing activity - but it is one of the most important features. The “News-Letter” is now in its fifth year, and has reached its 195th weekly issue. It began as a personal letter from the Rector to a few of his boys, early in the history of the war. Very soon it became necessary to duplicate the letter, and the “Rector’s Weekly News” soon took its present form - a double quarto sheet, with a double number for special occasions, such as Christmas, when the news-sheet is done in red ink. It always contains a letter from the Rector, a page of home-front news giving items of village news hit off in his own inimitable style - he is the sole editor - and the remainder of the space is devoted to extracts from the dozens of letters which the Rector receives daily from the serving men and women of the village. Hundreds of letters received testify that the “Weekly News” is a valued link with home, and one of the most looked-forward-to items in the week’s mail.
The News is sent each week to several hundred Tarletonians and others, who have a link with the parish and its Rector. Naturally, the cost of producing and posting is by now a heavy item. Originally, it was defrayed by the Rector, but now the parishioners spontaneously make efforts to help the News-Letter Fund, and thus are able to feel that they can take a small share in a valuable work done for the serving lads and lasses of the village.

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