A MEMORIAL plaque for the men who died while working on the Severn Bridge is finally set to be unveiled later today.

Last year, the memorial to the men was installed on the M48 Severn Bridge, which was built as a link between South Wales and the West Country.

During the 1980s and early 90s, work was carried out to maintain and strengthen the bridge.

And, while this major project provided a gateway between the two nations, it came at a cost.

While working on the bridge during this work, four men lost their lives.

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Last year, a plaque was unveiled to pay tribute to the men, who died between 1986 and 1991.

Unfortunately, a dedication ceremony to formally unveil this was delayed, as a result of covid-19 and the resulting restrictions and social distancing measures.

But now, following Wales’s move to Alert Level Zero earlier this summer, the dedication is able to take place, and will do so later today, Friday.

In the 1980s, the highways agency and Avon County Council carried out strengthening work on the bridge, to secure its long term future.

But, during these works, the four men died in industrial accidents.

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Former construction manager Peter Neale decided to install a plaque on the bridge, and for him, it is especially poignant.

Mr Neale said: “I knew and worked with three of the men.

“I always thought that there should be a memorial, not only to honour the men, but also to highlight the fact that construction is a dangerous business, and that safety must be the key consideration of all concerned.

“Having recently retired, I was finally able to get the plaque organised with support from National Highways and the John Laing Charitable Trust.”

The four men commemorated are:

  • John Cornelius Short - Caldicot, Monmouthshire. 24/10/1946 – 18/01/1989 
  • Eric Alan Sullivan - Tintern, Monmouthshire. 4/4/1944 – 4/9/1990
  • Robin Chester Phelps - Brockweir, Gloucestershire. 18/7/1947 – 4/9/1990
  • Kevin John Hoskins - Patchway, Bristol. 6/3/1957 – 27/11/1991 

Along with family members of the men, the dedication ceremony is set to be attended by Wales Office minister and Monmouth MP David Davies.

He said: “The Severn Bridge remains a vital link between Wales and England and a significant piece of our national infrastructure.

“We owe our gratitude to those who undertook the sometimes dangerous work of building and maintaining it and it is important that the four men who died working on the bridge are remembered.”