Road named after fallen Teesside soldier

A Teesside soldier killed by a bomb blast as he cleared a valley of improvised explosive devices in Afghanistan has had a street in his home town of Middlesbrough named in his memory.

Warrant Officer Second Class Charles Henry Wood was caught in a blast in 2010, as he led an expedition to clear a route through the Khushdal Kalay area of the Helmand River Valley, so that the local population would be able to travel freely without fear.

The 34-year-old Middlesbrough fan, who joined the forces when he was just 17, was described by his mum Barbara Nicholson as “loved by everyone” – a fact echoed by many of his brothers in arms.

A keen sportsman and charity fundraiser, in the year prior to his death Charlie led both a 24-hour rowing challenge that raised £5,500 for Help for Heroes and had run 1km for every soldier killed in Afghanistan, in aid of the Army Benevolent Fund.

Now 26 new homes stand on Charlie Wood Way, a new housing development built by Erimus Housing, part of the Thirteen Group. Just off Union Street in Middlesbrough, Charlie Wood Way is round the corner from where Charlie was raised.

It stands on the site of a former community centre that had been empty for over a year before the site was bought by Erimus Housing from Middlesbrough Council, to build more affordable homes.

Chris Smith, lead executive for Erimus Housing, said: “When Middlesbrough Council suggested that we name the street in remembrance of Charlie, we thought it was a lovely way to honour his memory.

“We’re grateful to be able to have the opportunity to show our appreciation for those who gave their lives for their country and of course, their families.

“The least we can do is to ensure that Charlie is never forgotten in his home town.”

Erimus Housing and Middlesbrough Council have now installed a replica road sign in his proud mum’s garden.

Charlie’s mum, Barbara Nicholson, 59, said The Forces Support Charity would soon be carrying our more work in her garden, including a rockery and flower beds

“The whole garden will be a tribute,” said the grandmother. “I would rather have Charlie back; there is nothing that could compare. His dad died a year later of a broken heart.

“But this is great and it is great for the grandchildren to see every day because they adored him.”

Middlesbrough Mayor Dave Budd said: “Middlesbrough has a long and proud history of supporting our armed forces, from current servicemen and women and veterans to their families and those who have made the ultimate sacrifice.

“Their work in support of freedom and democracy in conflicts around the globe should be recognised by all, and in Middlesbrough that commitment has been formally enshrined in our Armed Forces Community Covenant.

“Charlie gave his life in the service of his country, so it is fitting that his home town should have a permanent memorial to his sacrifice.”

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