Plaque for Backwell soldier

A PLAQUE paying tribute to a soldier from Backwell who died in Afghanistan earlier this year is to be dedicated on Armistice Day.

Matthew Collins was killed, alongside his colleague Lance Sergeant Mark Terence Burgan, by an improvised explosive device while returning to base from an operation with an Afghan National Army company on March 23.

Major Collins, aged 38, was a member of the 1st Battalion Irish Guards, and lived with his wife Lucy, their daughter Freya and son Charlie. Matt grew up in Backwell, where his mum still lives.

After learning of his death, Backwell Parish Council decided to pay tribute to the brave soldier and have designed a plaque in his memory which will be placed in the wall of the memorial garden which surrounds the war memorial in Church Lane.

Parish councillor Brian Huggins, who designed the plaque, said: “The plaque is for Matthew Collins. a major in the Irish Guards, who gave his life for his country earlier in the year in the Afghan war.

“Matt attended school in Backwell where he lived with his family, eventually going on to serve his country in the front line regiment Irish Guards.

“I’m sure the residents of Backwell feel we owe a duty to Matt and his fellow comrades and I’m sure he will be in our thoughts for many years to come.”

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Matt’s family, including his brothers Mark, Nick and Chris, will be attending the dedication of the plaque at St Andrew’s Church on November 13 after the 10.15am service.

The rector of Backwell, the Rev. Margi Campbell will dedicate the plaque in memory of Major Matt Collins after the remembrance service.

Chairman of Backwell Parish Council, Bob Taylor, said: “It will be a very special moment for us as Matt was a Backwell boy and a lot of people remember him.

“He always wanted to be a soldier and we are hoping a member of his regiment will be able to join us on the day.

“All his family will be coming to the service, so it is bound to be a touching moment.”

The war memorial is too delicate for plaques to be added to it, but the tribute to Matt has been positioned on the back wall in the memorial garden.

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