THE PROUD family of a Killamarsh soldier who died in Afghanistan have attended the unveiling of a steel portrait in his honour.
Cpl Liam Riley, of the 3rd Battalion, The Yorkshire Regiment, was killed by a roadside bomb during the on-going Afghanistan conflict while trying to save a friend’s life.
Killamarsh residents appealed to local authorities to include a statue of Liam in the first phase of a project to introduce a walkway and cycle route in their village.
Liam’s mum Cheryl Routledge said: “My family and I were absolutely thrilled when we were told Liam was going to be honoured in this way.
“I would like to thank all the people who voted to have a statue of Liam. Their support has been nothing short of brilliant and it fills my heart with joy.”
Liam’s statue was unveiled at a new bench, off Forge Lane, Killamarsh, yesterday morning, with two other statues of heroes including walkway campaigner Colin Savage and former IBF Light Heavyweight World Champion Clinton Woods.
Charity Sustrans and Derbyshire County Council, Sheffield City Council and Rotherham Metropolitan Borough Council organised the project and opened two new bridges over the River Rother for walkers, cyclists and horse riders.
Residents voted for their heroes to be included among bench statues along the new route. Liam’s Auntie Marie Gregg said: “The unveiling has come at a sad time because of the six soldiers who were recently killed in Afghanistan.
“We know exactly what their families will be going through and our thoughts go out to them.”
The statue of Liam, who died in 2010, will complement a war memorial erected in the village last year thanks to Killamarsh Parish Council to honour Cpl Riley and others who have given their lives.
Derbyshire County Cllr Alan Charles said: “This was a very important day for Killamarsh.”