Pub regulars’ bid to honour fallen hero

Friends of Richard Walker who was killed in Afghanistan, George Lindsay and Lee Carline helped organise a charity night at The Honest Boy pub with manager, Miranda Ruane.
Friends of Richard Walker who was killed in Afghanistan, George Lindsay and Lee Carline helped organise a charity night at The Honest Boy pub with manager, Miranda Ruane.
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PUB customers are hoping to raise enough cash to buy a memorial bench in memory of fallen soldier Richard Walker.

Regulars at the Honest Boy pub in Blackfell, Washington, are doing their bit to remember the 23-year-old, who was killed in Afghanistan last month.

Soldier, Richard Walker from Washington killed in action in Afganistan.

Soldier, Richard Walker from Washington killed in action in Afganistan.

Sapper Walker’s mother Kathryn, 46, chose to hold the wake for her son at the pub, where he was a regular drinker.

Landladies at the Honest Boy, sisters Miranda and Linda Ruane, put a collection tin on the bar, and donations have reached £375.

“We all knew Richie,” said Miranda, 29.

“He was a regular here before he signed up for the Army, and he always used to call in when he was back home.

“When we heard about what happened, it was just a huge shock. No one could believe it.

“I mean you see these things on the news, but until it happens to someone you know, it doesn’t really hit home.”

The dad-of-one died at Patrol Base Hazrat, in Helmand’s Nahr-e Saraj district, on Monday, January 7, after a rogue gunman opened fire.

Known to his friends as Richie, Sapper Walker had been on his first tour of Afghanistan and was due to return home to be reunited with 22-month-old daughter Lilly-Faith next month.

Four of Sapper Walker’s friends, including George Lindsay and Scott Orwin, paid for a banner for the young soldier, and staff at the pub are also hoping to have a plague engraved with his name for the pub lounge.

Miranda, who has run the pub for almost five years, said: “We do hope to raise enough money for a memorial bench, but we realise we will have to ask permission to have it put outside the pub.

“People have been so generous, and it shows how much they thought of Richie.”

At the end of January, family and friends said their final goodbyes during Sapper Walker’s funeral service at Our Blessed Lady Immaculate Church in Washington Village.

Kathryn said: “The girls at the Honest Boy have been so fantastic over the past few weeks.

“They have helped me, and I’m so grateful that people have been raising money in Richard’s memory.”

Twitter: @craigjourno