A second war of the roses or a united north?
A second war of the roses or a united north?
Thanks to everybody who made this April Fool story such a huge success. Our website survived the avalanche of readers - but only just!

The Yorkshire Times has uncovered plans to merge the counties of Yorkshire and Lancashire in a bid to cut administration costs. A leaked e-mail reveals that the new county will be renamed "Larkshire" and will be symbolised by a pink rose. It is still unclear where the administrative headquarters will be located, with both York and Lancaster in the running, although many stakeholders are backing a bid by Leeds as a logical central location.

This latest austerity measure following closely on the heels of the controversial NHS overhaul and the beleaguered child benefit changes, is set to cause a northern revolt.

Whilst printers, branding agencies and PR companies are jumping for joy, many Yorkshire businesses are up in arms. "It's an outrage" said Richard Trinder owner of the Yorkshire Times "Many Yorkshire firms, like ours, include the word 'Yorkshire' in their company name. We're massive fans of Yorkshire and believe that it's inclusion in our company name adds real value to our brand. If the plans go ahead, we will have to completely rethink our raison d'être. It will mean huge costs for many Yorkshire businesses - rebranding, reprinting stationery and new signage all add up."

A second war of the roses or a united north?
A second war of the roses or a united north?
Yorkshire is currently the largest county in the UK and has a very strong regional identity. The Yorkshire stereotype of flat cap, whippet, beer and Yorkshire pudding may be dying out, but not the pride in being from "God's own county" as it is affectionately known. "I've lived here all my life" said local lad Ivan Attitude "Yorkshire is much more than just a county, it's a way of life. We won't let them get away with this - they'll have a real fight on their hands. It's an insult and we're definitely not having a mamby pamby pink rose!"

When the Yorkshire Times tried to contact the sender of the leaked e-mail - a Miss D. Meanor - to confirm the proposal today (April 1st) no one was available for comment. Of course it could be because it's a Sunday but a more likely reason is an unwillingness to start the 2nd War of the Roses.

To have your say visit www.facebook.com/StopLarkshire and Twitter @StopLarkshire.