Rededication of memorial to serviceman Luke Southgate from Bury St Edmunds
- Credit: Archant
A poignant ceremony was held in Bury St Edmunds on Sunday as a memorial to a young serviceman killed in Afghanistan was rededicated ... on the 100th anniversary of the RAF.
Civic leaders, members of the Howard estate community, airmen and the brothers of the much admired senior aircraftsman attended the event at the shopping precinct in St Olaves Road as a service was held and wreaths laid.
Luke Southgate was a member of II Sqn RAF Regiment which was conducting a patrol to protect Kandahar Airfield when he was killed by an improvised explosive device whilst driving his WMIK Land Rover in Feburary 2010. He was 20 years old and lived locally.
Councillor Tom Murray had provided £1,000 from his locality budget for the work to be carried out at the site with work carried out by staff from RAF Honington along with members of the Howard Estate Association of Residents and Tenants (HEART)
He attended the event with St Edmundsbury mayor Terry Clements and his wife Vivian, Ernie Broom the chairman of HEART and Luke’s brothers Jack, 23, and Harry, 17, who is planning to join the RAF next year.
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The pair live on the estate and Jack, who manages a coffee shop in Ely, said: “This is where we grew up and it’s nice that it remembers Luke and there’s a good presence here for the service.”
The memorial now includes new plaques and roundels with new dedications.
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On Saturday staff from the Junior Regiment Officers Course at RAF Honington repainted the railings and tidied up the garden and helped out.
It was originally donated by friends of the Howard Estate, St Edmundsbury Borough Council, Town Council, Bury in Bloom, West Suffolk College and RAF Honington in November 2016.
Flying officer Steve Kingdom, who is at Tidworth Garrison with the 1st Royal Horse Artillery, served with SAC Southgate during the time of his death, was his section commander and was also first on scene as his vehicle was caught up in the explosion behind them.
He said: “It has been a pleasure to rejuvenate the memorial garden and the residents of the Howard Estate were very supportive.
“We had lots of people commenting on the work and the junior officers shared their experiences with the young adults who came to find out about the RAF Regiment. We want to say a thank you to the local community for being so accommodating and also for the two residents that bought us refreshments while we worked.”