Friends and relatives of deceased soldier Andrew Found lined the streets of Whitby as they bid farewell to a “gentle giant” and a local hero.
Craftsman Found, of the Royal Scots Dragoon Guards, was afforded a full military funeral at St Hilda’s Church on the West Cliff in Whitby on Friday.
Artificer Sergeant Major John Buck, a fellow Whitby soldier and friend of Craftsman Found, said: “I can only speak on behalf of my family, but it’s a very profound moment in Whitby’s history.
“This is the first military funeral I have been to and hopefully I won’t have to go to any others, but Andy was a close friend from my home town and so we are going to say goodbye to Andy in the best way possible.”
As the body of Andrew Found arrived at the church, accompanied by a lone piper, friends and family reflected on the short life of the 27-year-old, killed by an Improvised Explosive Device while coming to the rescue of his squadron comrades whose vehicle was damaged in an earlier blast.
Veterans lowered their unit standards, the Royal British Legion Riders gave a salute, and members of the public stood in silence as they paid respect to the married father-of-two.
Mr Buck added: “He was a very professional soldier, very fit and with a dry sense of humour, but above all he was a very loving family man, always talking about his family.”
Lance corporal Stu Little, who served with Andrew in Afghanistan, said: “What an amazing bloke, a true character and always up for a laugh.
“He was a big part of my life and I was the one who lovingly gave him the nickname ‘Avatar’, as if you were to paint him blue he’d pretty much be one.
“I was there with Andy at the end, I loved him like a brother and I send my love and support to his family in their time of loss.
“‘PS Keep winching.’”
The funeral was followed by a private ceremony at Whitby cemetary in Larpool Lane, where a full gun salute was observed.
The coffin of Andrew Found was adorned with his cap, a Union Jack flag, his medals and a stable belt, and prior to his coffin being lowered into the grave, these were presented to his widow, Samantha.