“GOODBYE our Northern lass.”
The words of a military commander as a family, the Army and a town united to say farewell to Afghanistan hero Lisa Head.
Capt Head, 29, died in hospital after being injured trying to defuse a deadly roadside bomb.
And the Almondbury woman’s enormous bravery was praised by colleagues and the public yesterday in a moving service at Huddersfield Parish Church.
More than 1,000 mourners packed into the church, into the streets and into St Peter’s Gardens for yesterday morning’s funeral.
Capt Head’s parents, John and Leila, and her sisters, Helen and Jayne, led the mourners.
But they were joined by hundreds who never knew or met Lisa but wanted to say their goodbyes.
There was spontaneous applause from the packed crowds as the cortege drew up outside the church and a bearer party of Lisa’s colleagues from the 11th Explosive Ordnance Disposal (OED) Regiment lined up to carry her into the church.
Ironically, her final journey was made only 50 yards from the Army recruiting office where she had first inquired about a military career.
The coffin was draped in the Union Jack and bore her cap, her belt and her ceremonial sword.
The hearse was lined with flowers – including an incongruous touch, with a flower tribute in the shape of Felix, the cartoon cat which is the symbol of the bomb disposal soldiers’ charity.
Standard bearers from many military and ex-servicemen’s organisations lined the steps of St Peter’s Church as did a guard of honour from the regiment.
Their medals glinted in the sun but many wore black armbands as a tribute.
Inside the packed church, Capt Head’s commanding officer, Lieutenant Colonel Adam McRae MBE, paid tribute.