New footbridge to be dedicated to fallen soldiers
A new footbridge which links Whitby West Pier with the pier extension is to be dedicated in memory of two fallen soldiers from the town in a special ceremony tomorrow (Thursday 9 August).
Damian Lawrence and Andrew Found lost their lives while serving in Afghanistan.
The proposal to dedicate the new bridge in memory of the two soldiers was originally the idea of John Buck while speaking to local resident Colin Winspear who took it forward. It received widespread support from Whitby Town Council and the wider Whitby community.
The new footbridge will be named the Whitby Memorial Bridge, with the dedication ceremony at 2pm set to be attended by the families of both Corporal Lawrence and Craftsman Found, as well as the Mayor of the Borough of Scarborough, Cllr Helen Mallory, members of the Whitby Harbour Board and the Mayor of Whitby, Cllr John Freeman.
Cabinet portfolio holder with responsibility for harbours, Cllr Mike Cockerill, said: “It will be a fitting tribute to the two local soldiers who lost their lives fighting for this country and a reminder of their ultimate sacrifice.
“I feel honoured that Scarborough Borough Council has been able to facilitate this for the families of the two men and the wider Whitby community.”
Corporal Damian Lawrence of the 2nd Battalion The Yorkshire Regiment, was injured by a bomb blast while on a patrol in the village of Kajaki in southern Afghanistan on 17 February, 2008 during a joint UK-Afghan operation to clear compounds in the area. He and another soldier were evacuated to Camp Bastion by helicopter but Cpl Lawrence, who was born in Scarborough and raised in Whitby, was found to have passed away on arrival.
Craftsman Andrew Found from the Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers served with the Royal Scots Dragoon Guards (Carabiniers and Greys). The proud Yorkshireman was killed in an explosion on 16 June 2011 while on an operation near Adinza’i in the Gereshk Valley area, within the northern Nahr-e Saraj district of Helmand Province. Craftsman Found – who came from Whitby and was affectionately known as “Foundy” – had been serving in Afghanistan with the Fitter Section, D Squadron (Warthog Group), Light Aid Detachment, Royal Scots Dragoon Guards.
Work to install the Whitby Memorial Bridge began in June and was completed last month, well within budget and ahead of schedule.
The old footbridge, thought to have been built in the 1940s, had been closed last September following safety concerns. A temporary structure was quickly sourced and installed, with the money to pay for it coming out of Whitby Harbour Board reserves. At the same time, the council began looking at permanent solutions. The new bridge is funded by Scarborough Borough Council out of the local authority’s Capital Development Reserve Fund.