Castleford’s fallen soldiers remembered with memorial bike ride

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Castleford’s fallen soldiers have been remembered a decade on from their deaths.

Rifleman James Backhouse, 18, and Bombardier Craig Hopson, 24, were killed in Afghanistan in separate incidents, less than a month apart.

The opening of the Backhouse Hopson memorial lounge at Castleford Ex-Services Club, in memory of Rifleman James Backhouse and Bombardier Craig Hopson, who were killed in Afghanistan in 2009.

The opening of the Backhouse Hopson memorial lounge at Castleford Ex-Services Club, in memory of Rifleman James Backhouse and Bombardier Craig Hopson, who were killed in Afghanistan in 2009.

This weekend, ten years on, the two soldiers have been remembered.

The anniversary was marked with a memorial bike ride, which visited the war memorials in each of the Five Towns, and a service outside Castleford Ex-Services Club.

A lounge at the club, which has recently been refurbished, was also renamed the Backhouse Hopson Memorial Lounge.

Lynn Hodson, Craig’s mother, said the day had been a celebration of her son’s life.

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She said: “It was wonderful, it was really nice. It was a proper memorial, not a remembrance.

“Our little ones were involved - Craig’s daughter and two nieces. We talk about him that much that they think they know him.”

“It’s nice to see his name up there. It’s nice to see Craig and James together as well. They’ve both got their separate little things, but they’ve got this together as well.”

Following the memorial service, the Club’s new lounge was formally opened by Lord St Oswald.

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A new plaque and photos of both James and Craig are on display in the lounge.

James’ father, Andy Backhouse, said: “All the day was brilliant. I was involved in the bike ride round all the Five Towns memorials.

“I think there’s enough memorials and every time they do something they ask to use James’ name. Why can’t we just remember him? That’s what they decided they were going to try and do.

“There were a lot of people. I was surprised at how many bikers were there.”

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A member of James’ battalion, 2nd Battalion the Rifles, was present at the day, alongside the soldiers’ families and friends.

Bill Waters, who helped to organise the day, said he had seen people waving and saluting as the memorial ride passed through the Five Towns.

He said: “It was fantastic, there were a couple of hundred people. It was just nice to see the community come together and be there for them.

“It was a very respectful service to both families with it being the tenth year. They’re absolutely delighted with the room.

“I’m just delighted with everybody that supported it. You can plan these things but if people don’t turn out for it but they did, they turned out in their droves.”

PHOTOS BY Matthew Merrick Photography

PHOTOS BY Matthew Merrick Photography

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