Historic books penned by a Cumbrian relative of the present Mayor, which include mention of the 16th Century Appleby gaol (jail), have “come home’ to the town. Mayor Gareth Hayes collects, as a hobby, old books and sermons written by his great uncle Will Hayes, between 1920 and 1950. Will Hayes, Gareth’s grandfather’s brother, hailed from Grayrigg and was an outspoken minister and prolific author. He died in 1959 but had penned some 40 or so works, usually focussed on his vision for harmony between world faiths. One of his works, the Book of the Cow (1930), was reputedly requested by Gandhi as one of the books he was allowed during one of his last prison terms. A pacifist, Will Hayes was imprisoned in Wormwood Scrubs, and later in Carlisle Castle during the first World Was as a conscientious objector. During the Second World War he set up a church in Chatham, deliberately near the heart of the Naval base……
“We at the Council are already investigating ways to add to the existing town trails and ‘blue plaques’ are part of the possible plan. My research will continue as a hobbyist pace, but I think the last word should belong to Chis Sears of Greensleeves who texted with the simple message “I am so delighted these books have come home”. I am sure my great uncle would be chuffed, too”. (extract taken from Cumberland & Westmorland Herald 23/01/21)Note: Under normal circumstances these books would form part of an Appleby Heritage display in the Exhibition Room at the Moot Hall, however, given current COVID restrictions this will happen at a later date.