Bus memorial for heroic Hucknall soldier ‘Sandy’

KILLED ON DUTY -- Hucknall soldier Paul Sandford
KILLED ON DUTY -- Hucknall soldier Paul Sandford

THE MEMORY of a brave Hucknall soldier who laid down his life on the frontline in Afghanistan is to be honoured by the naming of a bus after him.

As reported in the Dispatch last month, a campaign was launched to have one of the vehicles on Trent Barton’s Connect route in Hucknall christened after Lance-Corporal Paul Sandford (pictured).

L-Cpl Sandford, who was known as ‘Sandy’, died in a bloody battle in Helmand Province in 2007. He was aged just 23.

Now Trent Barton has confirmed that it is backing the call and will unveil the bus named after the Hucknall hero in a ceremony on Market Place.

It is hoped that members of his family and officers from his Mercian regiment will take part.

The news comes just weeks after Hucknall was shocked by a vandalism attack on a memorial bench in honour of L-Cpl Sandford in Titchfield Park on Remembrance Day.

The desecration was reported in a Dispatch front-page exclusive.

“It is a nice idea to name the bus and it means no-one will forget Paul,” said L-Cpl Sandford’s mum, Jane Saxby.

“It was a bit of a shock when we found out about the campaign and then we were told by Trent Barton that the company was going to name one of its buses after Paul.

“It restores a bit of your faith in people when you find out something nice like this will happen just weeks after the vandalism attack on the bench.

“It is clear that there are a lot of people out there who respect and cherish Paul’s memory.”

Trent Barton has been running an initiative to name the three buses on the Connect route since November after it reinstated one of the services that connects the town centre with the outlying estates. The U-turn followed pressure from passengers.

Darren Gough, brand manager for Connect, said: “We are very pleased to be honouring L-Cpl Sandford in this way.

“His memory is close to the hearts of Hucknall people, despite the despicable attack on the bench.”

A plaque bearing L-Cpl Sandford’s name will be placed in the driver’s cab.