Hereford & Worcester

Aunt creates knitted flag for fallen soldier

The family of one of the youngest soldiers to be killed in Afghanistan has unveiled a giant knitted union jack in his memory.

Rifleman William Aldridge from Bromyard in Herefordshire had just turned 18 when he died in an explosion last July.

His aunt, Ali Aldridge, initially knitted squares alone, but then got an extra 1,000 after a worldwide appeal.

Mr Aldridge's family unveiled the flag, measuring 13ft (3.9m) by 9ft (2.7m), with 736 squares, at his former school.

This week the number of UK service personnel killed as a result of the Afghanistan conflict since 2001 topped 300.

Image caption The flag was unveiled at Mr Aldridge's former school

Mr Aldridge joined the Army aged 17 in December 2008 and turned 18 on 23 May, two months before his death.

He was injured in an explosion in Sangin, Helmand Province. He died in a second blast as he tried to rescue his comrades.

Ms Aldridge said it took her more than 300 hours of work over five months to complete the flag.

"I just gave the brief, a knitted square in red white and blue and try to make the work on it as imaginative as they like.

"So, you got lots of different textures and lots of different patterns and it's created a nice effect."

The flag will be on display at St Peter's Church in Hereford this Saturday, as part of a special fundraising exhibition which coincides with Armed Forces Day.

Mr Aldridge's mother, Lucy, said: "I just hope they see the love that has gone into it in recognition, not just of William, but of everybody that has given so much."

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