New Gosport street named after soldier killed in Afghan warzone

HONOUR Sapper William Blanchard's widow Sue, Alyn Shott, Rev John Draper and Gosport's mayor, Councillor Richard Dickson, at the opening of Blanchard Avenue.

HONOUR Sapper William Blanchard's widow Sue, Alyn Shott, Rev John Draper and Gosport's mayor, Councillor Richard Dickson, at the opening of Blanchard Avenue.

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SAPPER William Blanchard’s life was cut short after he was shot down while dealing with an explosive device in Afghanistan.

But now his legacy will forever live on, after a new road in Gosport has been named after him.

The 39-year-old TA reservist, from Gosport, was killed in the Nahr-e Saraj North area of southern Afghanistan in 2010.

Now the Rowner Renewal Partnership has decided to name a main road in

the new Rowner development in his honour.

And, dozens of his friends, family and former colleagues turned out for the official naming ceremony.

Sue Blanchard, Sapper Blanchard’s widow, said: ‘This is a happy day for us all and we are delighted Will has been honoured in this way.

‘Will was a wonderful husband, son, brother, father, brother-in-law, son-in-law and friend.

‘He is sorely missed and always in our hearts; never forgotten by his family, friends and colleagues.’

Mrs Blanchard was the guest of honour at the naming ceremony, which took place on Saturday.

Guests also released dozens of orange balloons in his memory on the day.

Mrs Blanchard added: ‘Orange was his favourite colour.

‘He would have a smile on his face

to see the colour chosen for the ribbon and the balloons released to celebrate his life.’

Blanchard Avenue will run the full length of the new estate when it is completed.

Councillor Richard Dickson, the mayor of Gosport, was invited to the ceremony.

He said: ‘The people of Gosport and the country owe Sapper Blanchard a great debt of gratitude for his commitment to the security of our country as a TA reservist.

‘I am privileged to be the mayor at this time and it is a mark of respect that we remember him here.

‘Blanchard Avenue will be a permanent memorial to him and a reminder of his bravery for the many generations to come.’

The Rowner renewal project is a

multimillion-pound, phased regeneration of the run-down Rowner estate.

The partnership is made up of Gosport Borough Council, Hampshire County Council, First Wessex, Taylor Wimpey and the Homes and Communities Agency.

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