Former Haworth PCSO among service personnel honoured at memorial service

Keighley News: Elaine Bell – mother of Private Martin Bell, who died in Afghanistan three years ago – at the new memorial Elaine Bell – mother of Private Martin Bell, who died in Afghanistan three years ago – at the new memorial

Thirty servicemen and women who have given their lives post-Second World War were remembered and honoured during a service led by the Bishop of Bradford.

Almost 200 people gathered to pay their respects and give thanks for the sacrifices the 30, including former Worth Valley police community support officer Martin Bell, had made.

Yesterday's ceremony was held to dedicate Bradford’s new Memorial Wall near the Alhambra Theatre.

Relatives, friends, veterans, dignitaries and the public listened as the Right Rev Nick Baines opened the service, which was organised by Bradford Council.

He said: “We meet in the presence of God, to dedicate this memorial to the people of the city and district who have given their lives in the service of our country in conflicts since 1947.

“We recall their sacrifice and we commend to God all who, in bereavement, disability or pain, continue to suffer the consequences of warfare, fighting and terror.”

The Deputy Lieutenant, Major Stan Hardy, said it was an “honour” to be at the service.

Also present was the Lord Mayor of Bradford, Keighley councillor Khadim Hussain.

Private Bell, who joined the army after working as a PCSO, died while serving as a paratrooper in Afghanistan.

The 24-year-old was killed in an explosion after going back to rescue a badly injured colleague, disobeying his commander’s order.

Yesterday’s ceremony took place three years to the day since his death.

His mum, Elaine Bell, was among those at the service. She said: “It’s a lovely gesture that him and the others will be remembered. I’m grateful to those who made the memorial happen.”

Pte Bell had been one of the lead men using mine sweepers to check for improvised explosive devices (IEDs) on the day he died in Helmand Province.

He was awarded a posthumous George Medal for his bravery.

A plaque in his memory was unveiled at Haworth's Worth Valley police and community contact point in January, 2012.

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