Hundreds say farewell to Aaron

VIDEO More than 350 family members, friends and comrades have today gathered at the funeral of 19-year-old Private Aaron McClure to bid a final farewell.

MORE than 500 people gathered at the funeral of Private Aaron McClure to say a final goodbye today.

His family sobbed as they entered St Thomas' Church in Bramford Lane, Ipswich walking behind the coffin, which was draped in a Union flag and carried by army personnel.

Hundreds of people, mainly teenagers, also filed into the already packed church, leaving scores more outside.

A lone bagpiper walked in front of the cortege and hundreds of friends, weeping with grief followed the procession as it took Pte McClure on his final journey.

A gun salute sounded to mark the arrival of the coffin at the church.

The hour long service contained a number of tributes to the 19-year-old soldier who died in Afghanistan on August 23, one of which was by Pte McClure's uncle Allan McClure who spoke of the crippling pain of losing his nephew.

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Many left the service weeping as the coffin was taken from the church and put into the hearse.

It set off for the Millennium Cemetery in Tuddenham Road taking its route through the town centre where a procession, led by a bagpiper took place.

Pte McClure last month as a result of friendly fire while serving with the Royal Anglian Regiment in Afghanistan.

He and two other members of the regiment, Robert Foster and John Thrumble died after they were bombed by a US air plane, based at RAF Lakenheath in Suffolk.

The service began with a song by Puff Daddy, I'll Be Missing You, which was dedicated to Pte McClure by his brothers, Lewis, Ryan and Daniel, and his friends.

After a traditional hymn, How Great Thou Art, Pte McClure's uncle, Allan McClure, was to read a touching eulogy, in which he talks about his feelings of anger towards politicians, disbelief at his nephew's death and overwhelming sadness at the realisation of what has happened.

Christopher Edwards, head teacher at Westbourne High School, also spoke about the star pupil, who was popular among both students and teachers.

Pte McClure's mother, Lorraine McClure, dedicated a song, The World's Greatest by R Kelly to her beloved son, and together with her other sons, wrote a poem, entitled The Legacy of Love.

The service, was to be conducted by parish priest, Father Paul Bourner, his colleague Lis Arnold, and Father Ken Reeve, the honorary Chaplin for the Royal Anglian regiment.

R Kelly's If I Could Turn Back Hands of Time, dedicated to him by his father Karl Smith, was played as the service came to a close.

The irony of the date, September 11, the sixth anniversary of the terrorists attacks in America, had bypassed the family, who had not realised its significance until days prior to the service.

Following the service, a procession, led by a bagpiper, took place through the town centre.

n. Post your tributes to Aaron at www.eveningstar.co.uk/aaron

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