Memorial garden for tragic Viking soldier

THE family of a Suffolk soldier killed in an explosion in Afghanistan have helped create a memorial garden at his former cricket club.

Private James Grigg, of 1st Battalion The Royal Anglian Regiment, died in March after being injured while on patrol in Helmand Province.

A passionate cricketer who had represented his regiment and was due to try out for the army team later in the year, the 21-year-old was also a committed member of his local club in Stradbroke, near Eye.

The club’s first team, which has been renamed the Stradbroke Vikings after the Royal Anglian nickname, is preparing to take on Suffolk CCC in a special match on Friday.

That evening, the club will officially open the James Grigg Memorial Garden, which has been created with the help of his parents Mike and Pat as well as his sister Victoria.

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The garden will centre around a memorial stone bearing Pte Grigg’s name, which will be surrounded by 11 red and yellow roses – the Minden colours of the Royal Anglian Regiment.

Mr Grigg said: “The club wanted to do their bit to remember him and they have done that in several ways. They changed the name to the Vikings and thought it would be nice to do the memorial garden because he spent so much time up there.

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“We thought six yellow and five red roses for the Minden colours of the Anglian Regiment and because there are 11 players in a cricket team.”

Mr Grigg said it had been “therapeutic” for the family to help plant the flowers and create the garden that would help keep Pte Grigg’s memory alive.

He said: “Like all parents, you don’t want to forget and this is a way of people remembering him and passing him on. It’s very important to us. But it’s not just us who are mourning James – it’s the whole village.”

Mr Grigg, a former Royal Marine, added: “He lived and breathed cricket. One year he played over 60 matches in one season. He captained teams and also coached and got his coaching qualifications as well.

“He was a good character. Quiet, but very good. He was apprehensive about going to Afghanistan but he was very proud of what he was doing out there.

“He came home for his 21st in January. Although he didn’t talk very much about how it was going out there, he said how much better it was getting for some people out there.”

n The Twenty20 memorial match will take place at Stradbroke’s Wilby Road ground, starting at 5.30pm. Entry is free and all proceeds will be donated to Help for Heroes and the James Grigg Youth Trust. There will be a barbecue, hog roast, bar, refreshments and a prize draw.

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