Fallen soldier given hero's honour by Sanders School

Fallen solider named house hero at old Hornchurch school

Soldier Ian Fisher, who died serving his country in Afghanistan, has been named as one of the "house heroes" at Sanders School. - Credit: Tom Barnes

A soldier who died serving his country has been named as one of the "house heroes" at his school in Hornchurch.

Pupils at Sanders School will learn about alumnus and soldier Ian Fisher - who was killed in Afghanistan eight years ago - as part of a wider programme to celebrate local military heroes.

This recognition has been happily received by Ian's parents, Helen and Simon.

Helen, 76, said: "We are unbelievably proud. It is very nice Sanders School is honouring him.

“I think it’s nice that the youth of today are learning about military figures and the sacrifices they have made.

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“He was a very normal boy at school but I think he was very determined in what he wanted to do. I am as proud of him now as I was then."

Another figure to be celebrated is the man after whom Sanders is named: American RAF pilot Raimund Sanders Draper.

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The pilot swerved away from the Hornchurch school during a crash landing in 1943.

His actions saved 1,000 lives, but came at the cost of his own.

Named after the 29-year-old in the 1970s, the school's current name has been used since 2014.

It will revert back to the original in September; a "wonderful" act in Helen's eyes.

Ian was killed by a suicide car bomb attack on his final day of operation in 2013.

He was only 42, and left behind wife Emma and sons James and William, aged seven and five at the time of their father's death.

Ian went to university before joining the territorial army in 1993, where he progressed through the ranks: "He was very modest and didn’t really talk about his job or anything like that.

Sanders hero Ian Fisher

Ian Fisher on his first day at the then Sanders Draper school in Hornchurch. - Credit: Tom Barnes

"As a doting mother I put up bunting around the house when he came home from a tour but he wasn’t a fan of the fuss. 

“It was only after his death we found out how loved and respected he was by his army colleagues.”

That respect is felt equally at his former school, where headteacher Stuart Brooks speaks glowingly of the fallen soldier. 

"Ian’s picture hangs proudly on our corridor. His name holds such importance as he is one of our own, a true everyday hero from our school who walked the same corridors and halls as our current students."

He a "true inspiration", Mr Brooks added.

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