Hero soldier’s memorial plans

Sharon Backhouse is launching Hope 4 Heroes to help soldier's families.
Sharon Backhouse is launching Hope 4 Heroes to help soldier's families.

HEARTBROKEN mum Sharon Backhouse hopes to unveil a memorial garden in tribute to her hero son around the second anniversary of his death in Afghanistan.

The 47-year-old, of Queen’s Park Drive, Airedale, has submitted plans to Wakefield Council for a monument and garden in memory of 18-year-old Rifleman James Backhouse, who was killed in an explosion with five comrades from 2nd Battalion The Rifles in July 2009.

Part of the memorial at the soldier’s former school, Airedale High School, will include a sculpture of band of brothers by Castleford artist Harry Malkin.

Pupils at the Crewe Road school helped come up with ideas and designs for the tribute.

Sharon said: “We’ve been working so hard to build this memorial and submitting the plans is a massive step.

“It’s taken a long time to reach this point and I really hope we can unveil it around the second anniversary of James’ death.

“I’m extremely proud of the plans and it will be a fitting way to honour James and other soldiers who have lost their lives in Afghanistan. It’s going to be emotional when the memorial garden is finally complete and I hope the other mums will be there with me.”

The mum, who has launched the charity Hope 4 Heroes James Backhouse Memorial Trust Fund, has raised £22,000 towards the tribute through a series of fundraising events.

A Valentine’s Day ball was held in Monk Fryston last week and Sharon is planning to take part in a charity skydive.

She said: “A lot of hard work has gone into fundraising and it won’t stop when the memorial’s complete.

“I want to buy some caravans which can be used by the families of people serving in Afghanistan and set up a drop-in centre to support their families.

“I’ve been overwhelmed by everyone’s support and it’s fantastic we’ve been able to raise so much money.

“The memorial has involved a lot of work and a lot of things have been going on the scenes to make it perfect. When we see it I’m sure the hard work will have paid off.”