Memory of Leeds lad Josh is lit up for Blackpool Illuminations

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They are one of the country’s most famous light displays and draw thousands of people to the seaside every year.

And now the Blackpool Illuminations are ensuring the memory of a Leeds man, who died aged just 22, will continue to shine brightly after his photograph was put inside one of the lights.

Jason Sanderson said he couldn’t more proud of the tribute to his son, Joshua Sanderson Bell, from Rodley, who died in 2014 after battling Chron’s disease.

The photograph light feature was a surprise to the 49-year-old, until last week when an old friend from the army contacted him to say that he had organised the tribute.

Mr Sanderson, who has helped raise more than £30,000 with friends for charities in Josh’s memory, said: “Totally out of the blue last week one of my friends from the military got in touch.

“It’s 25 years since I had spoken to him. I got a message to say ‘I hope you don’t mind, but I have taken the liberty’, and he had built a special light feature with Josh’s photograph. Just as I think people are forgetting, something nice like this happens. It’s an absolutely fantastic tribute to my son.”

His thoughtful friend Matt Swift, from Harrogate, was given the chance to put Josh’s photograph in the illuminations while working as a contractor for Blackpool Council.

The pair served together with the Prince of Wales’s Own Regiment of Yorkshire in the 1980s and 1990s.

The light feature is among around 10 similar installations at the seaside resort as part of the illuminations, which were switched on last night.

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