Sergeant's memorial bench to be carried from Halifax to Skipton

British Army veterans are set to carry the memorial bench of a soldier killed in Afghanistan for 22 miles to raise money for a local charity.

Sgt Gareth Thursby, a 29-year-old father of two, was shot and killed in Helmand Province in September 2012.

Friends who served with Sgt Thursby will carry the 17st (110kg) bench from Halifax to Skipton, where he was from.

Funds raised from the carry on Saturday will help Tommy's Lounge in Huddersfield, a cafe helping veterans.

A team of about 25 people, made up of those who knew Sgt Thursby or served with him in the 3rd Battalion The Yorkshire Regiment, will take part in the carry.

Four people will carry the new bench, which will be mounted on a frame, at a time.

Members of Sgt Thursby's family are set to meet the carriers as they arrive in Skipton, where the bench will be installed.

Dominic Hern, 30, who was serving with Sgt Thursby on the day he was killed, told the BBC it was going to be an "emotional day".

"Growing up I didn't really have a father figure in my life, so he was that for me," he said.

"We all called him 'dad', he was what you expected from a sergeant - he led from the front and you'd follow him anywhere, he was one hell of a man."

Sgt Thursby, who was married and a father to Joshua and Ruby, was promoted to sergeant in 2010 and also served in Kosovo and Iraq.

He was fatally injured alongside Pte Thomas Wroe, 18, by a rogue Afghan policeman inside their checkpoint on 15 September 2012.

Mr Hern called Tommy's Lounge, which is operated and owned by veterans, a "fantastic, unique place".

"Mental health support for men has got so much better in the last few years, but for veterans it's a whole different kettle of fish," he said.

"Places like this need to stay open."

Follow BBC Yorkshire on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. Send your story ideas to or send video here.