September 19 2014 Latest news:
Emma Hardwick, x
Friday, October 4, 2013
The mother of a soldier who died serving his country has thanked the people of Great Dunmow for keeping his memory alive.
Elaine Freeman, 55, says she gets by “day-to-day” after her son, Sgt Nigel Coupe, was killed in Afghanistan last year. The 33-year-old was married with two daughters.
Mrs Freeman has been on a mission to raise money for a memorial bench in his name, and donations have flooded in.
She said: “I have spent all this week crying, not because I am sad, but because I am so humbled people would want to do that for me and my boy.
“I can’t believe how supportive people here have been. I just want to say a huge thank you to Dunmow.”
Mrs Freeman, who has lived in the town for 17 years, took part in the Dunmow Triathlon on September 8 to raise money for the cause.
She said: “It was hard because I am not a runner. But I had a picture of Nigel in my pocket and was listening to the iPod he bought me – he is the only reason I got round. He would have been so proud.”
In March 2012, Sgt Coupe had been on a patrol in an armoured fighting vehicle when it was caught in an explosion in Kandahar province. He and five of his comrades were killed.
“I had to drive to Blackpool, where Nigel lived, and heard on the radio about six soldiers missing in Afghanistan. It was horrible because I knew it was my son who died,” said Mrs Freeman.
“I do not know how I have coped. I get by day-by-day. My granddaughters keep me going.
“The hardest thing is knowing he will not be here for the big events, and knowing he will not see his girls grow up.”
Mrs Freeman needs £1,000 to buy a bench and a tree at the National Memorial Arboretum in Stafford, which is a site of remembrance for fallen soldiers, and has almost reached her target.
She hopes to take granddaughters Ella and Jasmine to the memorial to “understand the sacrifice their father made”.
Donate to runformooresponsorme.org/Elaine-Freeman1