A FITTING home has finally been found for a memorial plaque in honour of a young Northallerton soldier who died while serving in Iraq.

Lance Corporal Ben Hyde was one of six Royal Military Policemen killed by an Iraqi mob in a police station in Majar Al Kabir in 2003.

In the years following his death, his parents John and Sandra have hosted annual memorial evenings and raised thousands of pounds for charity via the Ben Hyde Memorial Trust.

Before Cpl Hyde joined the Army, he worked at B&Q in Northallerton and after his death his colleagues clubbed together to create a stone memorial in his honour.

It was initially intended to be placed in the grounds of County Hall in Northallerton, but it was deemed too large by the county council and a smaller, brass plaque was instead installed in his name.

The Northern Echo:

So for the last 16 years the stone plaque has been looked after by Cpl Hyde's former B&Q shift supervisor Brenda Ranns, until it was agreed that it should be placed at the new Castlegate housing development in Northallerton which already has a street named after the corporal.

On Monday about 30 people joined Mr and Mrs Hyde at Castlegate for the plague's official unveiling ceremony where Rev Carol Backhouse gave a short service in Cpl Hyde's honour and in the company of Military Police officers from Catterick.

The Northern Echo:

Speaking afterwards, Mr Hyde said: "After 16 years, to see so many people coming along just for something like this which hasn't really been advertising or anything, it means an awful lot.

"Ben loved Northallerton and he would be really proud to think we would all do this sort of thing for him."

Mrs Ranns, who worked with Cpl Hyde for around three-years, said: "He was very popular, he was a lovely lad.

"As soon as we said we wanted to do something for him everybody wanted to help, even staff who had moved to other stores were on the phone wanting to donate.

"It (the memorial) looks absolutely beautiful, it looks stunning, I don't think we could have done any better and when the roses come out it will be magical."

Paul Hogan, sales director for Barratt and David Wilson Homes Yorkshire East, said: "To be honest, when we heard the story of Ben there was no way we would not be involved.

"When we heard about the plaque we thought it was particularly appropriate that there should be a memorial just off Ben Hyde Way and we were very happy to help put together something so fitting."