Watford has paid a very special tribute to local hero Captain Thomas Sawyer, who was killed in Afghanistan in 2009 at the age of 26, naming the new road to Watford Hospital after him.
The launch of Thomas Sawyer Way, which is officially open to the public today (Wednesday 16 November), was marked in a touching naming ceremony yesterday (Tuesday 15 November).
Nearly a hundred of Captain Sawyer’s family and friends, and representatives of his military unit - 7 Sphynx Battery 29 Commando – joined with Health Campus partners to commemorate Tom. The new road signs, which the Partnership worked closely with the Sawyer family to design, were unveiled by his parents, wife and sister. Children from Field Junior School also took part in the ceremony, singing a song specially chosen for the occasion.
Thomas Sawyer Way runs for a kilometre and a half from Dalton Way to Watford General Hospital and is now significantly speeding up journeys to and from the hospital, including for blue light vehicles, helping to save lives thanks to the improved route through the south of Watford.
Tom was a Watford resident who lived in Blackwell Drive in Oxhey and so the route runs close to where he spent much of his time growing up in the borough.
The Sawyer family, who spoke about Tom at the ceremony, highlighted that naming the road which would save lives after Tom who had given up his for others, made it the most fitting tribute the town could pay.
Baroness Dorothy Thornhill, Mayor of Watford, said: “Thomas Sawyer Way is an historic milestone for Watford, made even more memorable by its connection to a local hero. It’s near to where Tom grew up and the football club he loved, and most importantly, it’s a road that will make such a difference to people’s lives. Tom gave his life for his country, and it is absolutely right that we honour him and the Sawyer family in this small but special way.”
The launch of the new road marks the successful completion of the first phase of the Watford Health Campus scheme. The next phase, the first industrial zone, is now underway with the first structural steels in place, and will be open in summer 2017 bringing new employment opportunities to the town.