Memorial bench for Bognor hero

Danny's mum Viv on the bench
Danny's mum Viv on the bench

A memorial bench in memory of Bognor Regis veteran Danny Johnston has been built in Hotham Park.

The bench features carved references to Danny’s interests, including logos of bands The Who and The Rolling Stones, the faces of the Blues Brothers and the insignia from his military regiment.

Danny served in the military for 14 years and worked in the Middle East, Kosovo and Northern Ireland but spiralling mental health saw him discharged from the military.

READ MORE: ‘Country needs to wake up’ after soldier Danny’s death
He went missing from his home in Bognor on May 20 last year and was found dead in a woods near Chichester three days later.

Local sculptor Simon Groves took nine days to carve the bench from Cedar of Lebanon.

He said: “I was first approached by cllr Matt Stanley and had been speaking with a couple of people about the memorial bench.

“We wanted to do something a little bit different than a straight-backed bench.

“It was good to be able to work with Danny’s friends and I hope it brings some sort of comfort to his mum.”

READ MORE: VIDEO: Hundreds attend funeral of Bognor soldier
Danny’s mum, Viv Johnston said the bench was initially kept as a surprise from her.

Viv visted Danny’s grave on the anniversary of his death, May 23.

She said: “We had a drink with him and it was a lovely sunny day.

“We were supposed to be going to have a drink and some lunch somewhere. I was told we had to pull off somewhere to do something and we pulled off in Hotham.

“I could see an absolutely huge crowd of people and they were bunched together.

“The group then parted, revealing the memorial bench.”

READ MORE: Pink Pub bike ride in memory of Bognor's Danny Johnston
Danny’s friends had come together to raise more than £2,000 for the bench.

Viv said she was speechless: “I couldn’t believe so many wonderful people had kept quiet and donated towards it.”

She described the day as ‘bittersweet’.

“It was terribly sad. It’s very emotional and still is but it was marvellous as well seeing how he was loved by so many people .

“It is a huge comfort to me knowing that those people will never forget him.”

Mental health awareness charity All Call Signs was set up in Daniel’s name. Find out more at allcallsigns.org