September 17 2014 Latest news:
Saturday, April 12, 2014
A Suffolk soldier killed in Afghanistan has had a street named in his memory in recognition of how he made the ultimate sacrifice for his country.
Four years after James Grigg was killed while on tour in Afghanistan, his father Michael and soldiers from his regiment opened the new Grigg Close in Diss in his honour.
Mr Grigg described finding out that the 21-year-old Stradbroke cricketing enthusiast had been hit by an improvised explosive device (IED) while in Helmand province.
“I was at work at the time. My wife rang me and said: ‘The military are here.’ That was all she had to say,” he explained.
Since then he said the community had rallied round to support the family in their grief, with family and friends organising a cricket match last year in his memory.
While the new Saffron Housing Trust homes in Diss make a strong link to servicemen and women, they are also important for another reason – they are bringing much-needed affordable homes to the county.
John Whitelock, director of new business, said: “Lots of people want houses but not enough are getting built. Therefore, the gap between what local people can afford and what open market houses are going for is getting greater and greater.”
As a result Mr Whitelock said he expected there to be high demand for people to rent four one-bedroom houses, one two-bedroom house and a trio of three-bedroom bungalows.
He added that the £900,000 scheme included homes designed specifically for people with mobility issues.
It means Saffron Housing Trust now has 5,300 homes throughout East Anglia, with Mr Whitelock saying it aims to have 6,000 within a three-year period.
Graham Minshull, former Diss mayor and non-executive director at the trust, said the homes would make a “massive difference” to people’s lives.
However after giving Pte Grigg’s regiment, the Vikings, the freedom of the town in 2011, Graham Minshull – who was Diss mayor at the time and is also a non-executive director for the Saffron Housing Trust – spotted an opportunity to mark the sacrifice forever.
With the affordable housing provider building eight new homes off Willbye Avenue, Diss to replace redundant garages, Mr Minshull suggested the two new streets be called Vikings Close and Grigg Close.
“During that time I spoke to the Grigg family and I was amazed by how they bore their loss,” Mr Minshull said. “They’ve given the ultimate sacrifice. They’ve given their son... These guys go off and leave their home towns with no marching bands or fuss.
“We wanted to name the road affter the Vikings to say ‘thank you’ and show that we understand what is important. It is a simple thing to do and what more fitting way to do it?”
Mr Minshull also hoped students from Diss High School – which backs on to the site of the new homes – would take an interest in the name of the road and be inspired by the people behind it.
The sign for Grigg Close reads: “To commemorate Private James Grigg of the Royal Anglian Regiment who fell in action Afghanistan 2010.”
Unveiling the new street signs, Mr Grigg said it was “very emotional” and added that his son would be “proud”.
How do you think we can commemorate our fallen soldiers? Write, giving your full details, to: EDP Letters, Prospect House, Rouen Road, Norwich NR1 1RE or email EDPLetters@archant.co.uk