Bereaved mum’s charity effort boosts war memorial fund

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A SHEFFIELD mum who has devoted her time to charity after the death of her airman son in Afghanistan has almost achieved her £35,000 target to pay for a war memorial - after a marathon skating session to raise funds.

The £1,000 which is set to be brought in from sponsorship at the iceSheffield event has brought the total raised so far to £32,000 - just £3,000 short.

Nicolette Williams, whose son, Senior Aircraftsman Christopher Bridge was killed aged just 20 in 2007, wants to create the memorial in Shiregreen Cemetery, where her son is buried.

It is the only cemetery in Sheffield without a memorial - even though 69 servicemen killed in World War Two are also interred there.

The skating session was organised by Dean Staniland, aged 20, son of one of Nicolette’s friends, and involved dozens of his pals attempting to skate 6,400 laps of the rink - the equivalent number of miles of a return journey from Britain to Afghanistan.

Nicolette said: “Around £1,000 of sponsorship has been promised to everyone taking part, which is a great result and brings me really close to the amount I need for the memorial. I’m thrilled to be on the cusp of making the project a reality.

“We now need to give the appeal a final push. It’s been a lot of hard work and legwork - and is thanks to so many people’s generosity.”

Once the £35,000 target has been reached, Nicolette will then complete work on detailed designs and the memorial will be put in place.

Nicolette said that all the participants in the skating event managed to finish the 100 laps they each said they would make - and one went round the rink 300 times.

Nicolette, who also took to the ice with Christopher’s younger brother, 17-year-old Jamie, added: “I managed 12 laps, rather than the 10 I thought I’d be able to manage - although I had sore legs afterwards.”

Other fundraising for Nicolette’s appeal has included collections among revellers at city centre bars - and she has received a £4,100 donation from her MP, David Blunkett.

Before launching the war memorial appeal, Nicolette fundraised heavily for wounded troops’ charity, Help for Heroes.

■ Nicolette is appealing for relatives of the World War Two soldiers buried at Shiregreen to come forward, so they can be involved with the memorial. Contact Richard Marsden by calling 0114 2767676 ext 3508 or email richard.marsden@thestar.co.uk.