SHEFFIELD MP David Blunkett has praised the fundraising efforts of two grieving Sheffield mums who lost sons in Afghanistan and have now collected £35,000 to fund a war memorial.
Nicolette Williams, whose son Senior Aircraftsman Christopher Bridge, aged 20, was killed in the war zone in 2007 and Ann Fellows, who lost her Royal Marine son Lance Corporal Jamie Fellows, 26, the following year, have been fundraising for the last 20 months.
They went to have a new war memorial built in Shiregreen Cemetery, the only cemetery in the city without one.
Christopher is buried there, along with 69 World War Two veterans.
Jamie’s mum also supported the project because the cemetery is close to where the Royal Marine grew up.
Brightside and Hillsborough Labour MP Mr Blunkett, who made a £4,100 donation at the launch of the appeal, said: “I think it is phenomenal achievement by Colette and Ann and all those who have given enormous support, including Friends of Shiregreen Cemetery.
“It is an example of how with dedication and tenacity an impossible dream can be made reality. I’m very pleased that in my small way I’ve been able to assist them.
“The challenge now is to ensure that the monument is a catalyst for reaching out to schools and the wider community so that the reasons that young men like these have given their lives can be better understood as part of the teaching of history, citizenship and, of course, understanding across nations and races,” said Mr Blunkett.
Nicolette and Ann have held second hand sales and collections to raise the money.
They have also inspired groups of people to raise money on their behalf including South Yorkshire Police, which raised a final £2,100 needed to reach the £35,000 target by holding a boxing show at the force’s Niagara sports and social club, at Wadsley Bridge.
Both women attended the event, where South Yorkshire Chief Constable Med Hughes, was MC.
The memorial, which is to be compass-shaped and made from granite, will be inscribed with the names of Christopher and Jamie, and all other fallen servicemen buried at Shiregreen Cemetery.
It is set to be built next year once planning permission has been achieved.