Teacher's tribute to Suffolk soldier

A SUFFOLK head teacher has paid tribute to an “utterly likeable and reliable” former student who became the 100th British soldier to perish this year in Afghanistan.

Jonathan Schofield

A SUFFOLK head teacher has paid tribute to an “utterly likeable and reliable” former student who became the 100th British soldier to perish this year in Afghanistan.

Lance Corporal Adam Drane, from the 1st Battalion The Royal Anglian Regiment, died on Monday from small arms fire at a checkpoint in the Nad-e Ali area of the Helmand province.

L-Cpl Drane, of Stanningfield, near Bury St Edmunds, was a student at King Edward VI School in Bury until 2002.

Yesterday, Geoff Barton, head teacher at the school, paid tribute to a student whose death had left the whole school “deeply saddened”.

He said: “The whole school community is deeply saddened to learn of Adam's death.

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“He was a student with us until he left school in 2002, and his teachers remember him with huge affection.

“He was utterly likeable and reliable, someone who worked hard and was much-loved by his friends, peers and teachers. His death has left us shocked, and our thoughts are with all members of his family, some of whom are students in the school now.

“Adam's death is a reminder of how close-to-home the events of Afghanistan are for soldiers' families and friends, and a reminder also of just how much we all owe to people like him.”

Within a day of the news of L-Cpl Drane's death being announced flowers and cards appeared around the war memorial in his home village.

One tribute from Diane and Frank attached to a bouquet of flowers said: “You were a lovely lad always with a smile. We will miss you and want to say thank you for all you have done for your country. It is tragic to have lost you.”

Another said: “To our Hero. You are a beautiful person, so fun loving and very caring. A star shining so bright you will be forever in our hearts angel. Always remembered as a dear friend. Sleep tight. Love always.” Neil and Amanda.

Another signed Connor said: “Even though I barely knew him, Adam was like the older brother I had always desired. I can imagine all the times we would have shared. But I'm glad of the ones we did share. He was amazing. He taught me so much about music and guitar. I shall repay him by cherishing the times we have shared and never giving up, just as he did. You have all my love.”

A neighbour living close to the war memorial said it was a tragedy that brought the war in Afghanistan to the heart of the village.

Neville Last, 80, a lifelong Stanningfield resident, said: “I remember when the family moved here 20 years ago and Adam was just a toddler. He was always one of the really well behaved youngsters and was very pleasant and polite whenever I saw him. This is a tight knit village and you can feel how much this has affected everyone.

“It is such a tragedy as the lad was due to get married next year and he would always come back to his mum and dads whenever he wasn't serving in the army - it really is a tragedy for everyone.”