A BLUE plaque dedicated to the memory of a pioneering missionary was unveiled in Addingham on May 24.

The blue plaque at Mount Hermon Chapel, Main Street, is dedicated to former pastor William Kendall Gale.

Born in Addingham in 1873, he was educated at Addingham National School. Leaving school at 15 years of age he worked in Burnley before moving to London to complete his studies.

He returned to the village he loved and became Pastor at the Chapel. In 1908 he left Addingham with his family to take up pioneering missionary work in Madagascar.

He had to overcome many problems often working in a hostile environment with the constant risk of life-threatening diseases.

His work in Madagascar saw him establish more than 250 village churches, plus schools for training teachers. He died in 1935 of complications following surgery.

Many villagers attended the ceremony, including Addingham Parish Council chairman, Catherine Coates, but pride of place had to go to William's three granddaughters, two of whom made the trip from Devon.

Today’s pastor, Neil Bedford, said: “This wonderful plaque will serve as an apt reminder of his many accomplishments and will be a very visible reminder to all Addingham's residents of a small part of their illustrious past.

As well as acknowledging the work of William Gale, the plaque also also reflects on the village landmark, a Grade 2 listed building.

Addingham Civic Society chairman, Jim Robinson, said: ”'I am delighted to be involved in this Blue Plaque ceremony which recognises the life changing work of a true pioneer.

He added: “It is doubly satisfying to have worked with the Parish Council to secure the first Blue Plaque in the village and I now look forward to the next one.”