Bishop pays tribute to Suffolk soldier

THE bishop of St Edmundsbury and Ipswich has paid tribute to a Suffolk soldier who was killed in Afghanistan this week in his Christmas message.

Jo Thewlis

THE bishop of St Edmundsbury and Ipswich has paid tribute to a Suffolk soldier who was killed in Afghanistan this week in his Christmas message.

The Rt Rev Nigel Stock sent his heart-felt sympathy to the family of Lance Corporal Adam Drane, 23, who was the 100th British soldier to die in Afghanistan this year.

The young solider from the Royal Anglian Regiment, who came from Stanningfield, near Bury St Edmunds, died on Monday as a result of small arms fire at a check point in the Helmand Province of the country.

He said: “My heart goes out to everyone involved, particularly the family of Adam Drane.

“People want to express their sympathy and support for those who bear the brunt of the conflict.”

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Bishop Nigel went on to pledge support for the families of those serving in Afghanistan who face a worrying Christmas away from their loved ones.

He added the church would try and support those who will be mourning the loss of a family member over the festive season.

“Christmas is a time when people have a lot of memories and feel the importance of family life,” he said.

“It can be very hard on people if they are going through bereavement as this might be the first Christmas without someone who was precious to them.

“We need to be aware people are being affected by this and offer them our support.”

Bishop Nigel, who is preparing to celebrate his third Christmas in Suffolk, said many people were turning to the church as the recession bites and redundancies take their toll.

He praised the work being done by the Iceni drug treatment project in Ipswich as well as support groups within the church which were actively trying to help those worst-hit by the downturn.

Bishop Nigel was keen to highlight the positive message of the season.

He said: “If we ever get the feeling everything is going to the dogs, with anxiety about the future, the message must be to give thanks.

“When you remember the great gift Christ made to the World, he must have thought it was worth coming to.

“As he cared for the World, we should care for other people.”

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