A lasting tribute to one of Fylde’s bravest sons has been unveiled.
A bench dedicated to the memory of St Annes father-of-two Sgt Nigel Coupe, who was killed in Afghanistan last year, is the first memorial of its kind to be sited in Lytham’s Witch Wood.
The location was the specific choice of Sgt Coupe’s widow, Natalie and young daughters Ella and Jasmine, for whom Witch Wood was a favourite family destination.
A ceremony to officially unveil the bench was attended by family members, including Sgt Coupe’s father Alan as well as Mrs Coupe, along with Fylde Mayor Coun Linda Nulty, representatives of the Armed Forces, the Fylde Veterans charity, the Royal British Legion, St Annes Town Council and Lytham St Annes Civic Society, who are responsible for Witch Wood.
Dedicated ‘in memory of our daddy Sgt Nigel Coupe 1978-2012’, the bench, made in Malaysian hardwood by Woody’s of Freckleton, was blessed by Fr David Lyon, vicar of St Annes.
It has been funded by Fylde Veterans and St Annes Town Council after Mrs Coupe indicated at a ceremony in Ashton Gardens, to add Sgt Coupe’s name to the war memorial there, that a bench in Witch Wood would be an ideal lasting tribute.
“Witch Wood was a very special place for us as a family,” Mrs Coupe said. “We used to come here bug-hunting and other fun things and one of the last photos that was taken of Nigel was in this wood.”
Marion Coupe, chairman of the Civic Society, said: “In the almost 40 years that the Society has looked after Witch Wood, we have turned down many requests for such memorials because if we allowed one, it would be difficult to then turn down others.
“But this was a very special request for a very special person and we are delighted to have this bench sited here.”
Coun Ed Nash, president of Fylde Veterans, added: “The Veterans and the town council have been delighted to help with the installation of this very special memorial.”
The Witch Wood bench follows the siting of one in his name at the National Memorial Arboretum in Stafford following a sponsored triathlon Sgt Coupe’s mother Elaine.
An inquest into the death of Sgt Coupe, along with five colleagues, starts in Oxford next week.