The family of a Leyland soldier who died following an explosion in Afghanistan are paying tribute to their beloved son with a special memorial in their garden.
Marine Paul Warren, 23, was killed in a Taliban grenade attack in June, 2010.
The former Balshaw’s High School pupil had just finished a gym workout with comrades at the base in Helmand Province, when the grenade was thrown into the compound.
His heartbroken family, including dad Cliff and mum Lynn, have struggled to come to terms with the tragedy, and told the Guardian that their garden – a place which Paul used to love spending time in – had become neglected since his death.
But thanks to the generosity of a charity which helps grieving families, their garden is now a peaceful haven where they can reflect on the happy times they spent with fun-loving Paul.
The Forces Support Charity was at the Warrens’ home in Ingleborough Way, Leyland, last week, to refurbish the back garden and include a memorial arbour for Paul.
“Paul was proud to be a marine but he was very family orientated and he kept his marine life separate from his private life”Cliff Warren
Cliff said: “We’d seen about the charity on Facebook but didn’t think we’d be worthy or needy enough.
“We’d just never had the heart to go into the garden because Paul spent a lot of time there with his friends, drinking and having barbecues.
“It brought back those memories.
“But we got a message from the charity and they said we were worthy, and they’ve created a new area for us at the bottom of the garden where we can reflect. It has a photo and a plaque with an inscription, so it’s a very important area for us now.”
Cliff and Paul’s grandad John have also got their hands dirty during the project, which has involved laying new paving, creating a feature circle and raised flower beds.
“We’ve been helping so they can move on from us and help the next family as soon as possible,” Cliff said. “It’s been good, it’s really helped.
“There’s been banter and we’ve been able to tell them all about Paul and what they’re doing this for.”
He added: “Paul loved being outside with his family.
“He was proud to be a marine but he was very family orientated and he kept his marine life separate from his private life.
“There were two sides to him, and it’s good to be able to remember the Paul we knew.”
Project manager Andy Morton said: “Most of the time we help military families who aren’t able, or have lost the motivation, to do jobs in the house and garden, following a bereavement.
“I find that the gardens tend to be more inspirational than decorating a house.
“With one project I was involved in, a grieving dad hadn’t moved from the sofa for months, but he felt motivated to help with the work and it did him a lot of good.”
Local businesses also got on board to help the Warrens.
Travis Perkins builders merchants and Marshalls Paving donated materials, and Leyland’s Tesco provided packed lunches for the men.