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Cockermouth Post Article January 2011

A well-known family name in the town is that of Chicken. Thomas Henry Chicken, who died in 1960 aged 90 years, known as Old Tom, was awarded the MBE for services to the town. Mr Chicken, of Victoria Road, served for 34 years on the West Cumberland War Pensions Committee, of which he was Chairman for the last ten years. According to the newspaper report (Times and Star, 15.6.55) his record of never having been absent from local or regional meetings was believed to be a record unequalled in the country.

Thomasís family gave distinguished military service too. Three of his five sons were members of the Territorial Army and were mobilised in July 1914. Sadly, one of those sons (Percy) was killed at the age of 18 after six monthsí active service abroad. Joseph Glaister and Arnold were in action in France until the end of the war. Arnold, who was Chairman of the Cockermouth Urban District Council, also served in the second World War as a Lieutenant-Colonel. Next time you visit Memorial Gardens look at the plaque on one of the gate-posts and you will find Thomasís name there, as he officially opened the Gardens on 11th August, 1956 as a war memorial. Thomasís other two sons were Nelson and Henry. He also had four daughters, Sarah, Elizabeth, Margaret and Anne.

The newspaper report credits Thomas Henry Chicken (also an Urban District Councillor for six years until 1927) with founding the Cockermouth Carnival, along with Councillor John Huddleston. Cockermouth Carnival actually had its origins back in the late 19th century as Cousin Charleyís Day, but maybe in Councillor Chickenís time it became what we now know as Cockermouth Carnival, and it was certainly down to the support of Thomas and John that this proud tradition has thrived.

Gloria Edwards

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