A BESPOKE bench has been created in memory of a Darton solider tragically killed in Afghanistan just days after his 28th birthday.

The Barnsley Branch The Yorkshire Regiment Association has commissioned the special seat as a permanent reminder of the sacrifice made by Private Matthew Thornton who was killed on patrol on November 9, 2011.

The black bench, decorated with an image of Matthew, is on the corner of Huddersfield Road in Darton opposite All Saints’ Church, where the Territorial Army soldier who served with 4th Battalion The Yorkshire Regiment was buried with full military honours.

Matthew, who went to Darton High school and worked at Premdor, came under attack with gun fire and grenades while on patrol. While he was manoeuvring and returning fire he was caught in the blast from an improvised explosive device and died.

Tony Simpson, from the regiment association, said it had taken seven months to get the bench in place, working closely with Matthew’s parents, Sue and Mick Thornton.

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Tony, of Redbrook, is pleased with the results and says there are plans for more benches in future.

“We’re having some more made with poppies in the middle but Matthew got his own special one first.

“There are 20 war memorials in the Barnsley area and we would like to put one at every memorial.

“Every time we raise £250 it will be a case of we do another bench.”