Bridge builders give Afghans ray of hope

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DURING the Russian invasion of Afghanistan, much of the country’s infrastructure was decimated.

Roads, villages and carefully constructed irrigation canals – key to simple survival in Helmand Province – were blasted away into the desert dust.

Yet this week, Colonel Kev Copsey, of Bridlington, the commanding officer of 35 Royal Engineers Regiment, and his men were able to celebrate pulling a small piece of Helmand away from the legacy of war.

Col Copsey and his engineers –many from the east coast of Yorkshire – have built the biggest British military bridge since Burma during Second World War costing £1.2m.

“This conflict has put us to the test more than ever,” he said. “The austerity of it all has been hard, we have had lads going out to isolated bases in the middle of nowhere to defend from the insurgents and provide security. It is very humbling to see the strong bond that develops living in places like this.”