THE new West Pier link bridge is set to be dedicated to two fallen soldiers, after Whitby Harbour Board approved proposals at its meeting on Monday.
Although the bridge is set to reopen this week, it will be formally dedicated to the memory of Cpl Damian Lawrence and Cfn Andrew Found at a ceremony which will be arranged by both the families of the two men and Whitby Harbour Board.
Both men died while in active service in Afghanistan and the bridge dedication is the result of months of campaigning by Whitby resident Colin Winspear. Family members attended the harbour board meeting to hear its decision, and Mr Winspear said: “I was shattered after seeing the emotion of the families.
“That was the first time most of us had been together and it was emotionally draining, but personally I’m glad that it’s going through.”
Harbour board chairman Coun Mike Cockerill is now set to meet with the families of the two men to discuss the wording of the plaque, and to arrange when the dedication ceremony will take place.
The harbour board had proposed that the official dedication take place on 19 July, but the family have asked for another date to be chosen, suggesting Saturday 11 August. This would allow more family members, who must travel from around the country, to attend.
The family will also discuss with Coun Cockerill the possibility of more names being added to the plaque if any further local servicemen lose their lives in armed conflict.
A plaque will be affixed onto the bridge, detailing the names of the two men, but Coun Cockerill has also suggested the possibility of giving the bridge a name that reflects the close connection with all of Whitby’s fallen heroes, such as ‘Memorial Bridge’.
Dennis Hodgson, secretary of the Whitby branch of the Royal Engineers Association, agrees with this idea.
He said: “Two words keep coming to my mind – British and hero. If the new bridge was named ‘British Heroes Bridge’ then the families of the two brave soldiers from Whitby will always be able to know that the memory of their loved ones is still there in Whitby.
“I suggest it would also be in memory of others, even the friends of the two Whitby men, and others who didn’t come home from previous conflicts. It will be almost like a Whitby Cenotaph.”
The West Pier link bridge is expected to reopen to the public at the end of this week, ahead of schedule.