A new development off Davies Avenue in Sutton in Ashfield is set to see a road named after a fallen local soldier.
Lance Sergeant David Greenhalgh, of the Queen’s Company 1st Battalion Grenadier Guards, was described as “an inspiring figure” and “the very embodiment of what a soldier should be”. These were the words of Platoon Sergeant David Roper in February 2010 following his death during an operation in Afghanistan.
The 25 year-old was providing protection for a column of soldiers by clearing a road suspected of being mined with explosives when his vehicle was itself caught in a blast.
An experienced section commander and search team leader, David had risen rapidly through the ranks. He served in Bosnia and Iraq as well as proudly guarding Buckingham Palace on many occasions.
As well as commanding a section in his platoon he learnt multiple languages and undertook specialist training as a tactical questioner, interrogating potential Taliban militants and sympathisers.
David had spent most of his childhood in Ashfield. Born at Kingsmill Hospital and schooled at Dalesdorth Primary School, his family moved between Central Sutton, Huthwaite and Leamington.
He had always been interested in the military. Growing up surrounded by family members who had made careers in the Armed Forces, it was no surprise when David asked to join the Army aged sixteen and a half.
His larger than life character, courageous attitude and his enormous caricature-esque moustache soon made him a popular figure amongst his peers.
Second Lieutenant James Brown, 1 Platoon Commander, said: “Even before I joined 1 Platoon, I knew of Lance Sergeant David Greenhalgh. His reputation for always being at the centre of the action, whether it be on patrol, in the middle of a practical joke or a key player in any good story made him stand out from the crowd.
“The first time I met Lance Sergeant Greenhalgh was just after he had returned from a patrol. I was immediately struck by his professionalism, strong character and proudly grown moustache! As a new Platoon Commander I considered myself extremely lucky to have Lance Sergeant Greenhalgh in my platoon, he very quickly put me at ease and spent time sharing his words of wisdom.”
A decade on from David’s death, Ashfield District Council is honouring the hero’s achievements with the naming of a new street in Sutton. A development on Davies Avenue will be named Greenhalgh Avenue as a tribute to David and his family.
David’s mother Mandy Bainbridge now runs Speed the Plough pub on Mansfield Road in Sutton and is extremely proud of everything her son achieved in his life.
She said: “David took his job very seriously. He loved what he did and believed in what he was doing – he made me immensely proud to call him my son.
“My grief has been a difficult journey and a decade on and I still have a mixture of good days and bad days. I’ve looked at life completely differently since 2010 as I now look to help people as much as I can. I try to keep my life focussed, set goals and maintain a positive mental attitude. It’s what David would have wanted.
“I’m very grateful for this tribute from the Council. It will be lovely to see his name honoured like this.”
Since David’s death, Mandy has raised thousands of pounds for numerous local and national charities. These have been mostly military based such as Help for Heroes, The Grenadier Guards Colonel’s Fund and Royal British Legion but she has also fundraised for Cancer Research, Lincolnshire and Nottinghamshire Air Ambulance and John Eastwood Hospice.
Mandy continued: “The charity work has been very important to me as it’s given me a focus and it also means I’m helping others which is great.”
Along with other military parents, she has also successfully campaigned to change some laws based on her experiences following David’s death.
“The network of military parents are very supportive. We’re always there for one another, whether it’s campaigning, support for charity work or just for someone to talk to, we are like a family.”
Mandy has chosen 2020 as the year she begins training as a Counsellor so that she can help other parents going through similar situations to hers. She also hopes to help individuals leaving the Armed Forces suffering with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) or other mental health issues.
Mandy explained: “I’m looking forward to getting stuck into the counselling training so I can start helping others who are struggling. Losing a child in this way is something no parent should ever go through so if I can help just one person I will have made a difference. David made me extremely proud so I hope this will add to his legacy.”
Councillor Jason Zadrozny, Leader of the Council said: “I am honoured that we have been able to pay tribute to Lance Sergeant David Greenhalgh, a local lad who paid the ultimate price for his country.
“I never met David but it seems he was a fantastic person to be around and Mandy is right to be extremely proud of her heroic son.
“Mandy’s decision to take up counselling training to help others is truly humbling. I’m looking forward to working with her on future military projects in the community.”