Huddersfield mourns at funeral of Private Daniel Wilford
HE was the life and soul of the party.
And yesterday friends of Private Daniel Wilford told how he would be ‘dancing in heaven’ as they attended his funeral at Huddersfield Parish Church.
Pte Wilford ‘an exceptional warrior gunner’ was one of six – including three from Huddersfield – to be killed by a massive improvised explosive device in Afghanistan in March.
His funeral cortege made its way through Huddersfield shortly after midday yesterday amid applause from the crowds who lined the streets to pay their respects.
His coffin, draped in a union flag, was carried in to St Peter’s Church by his family and friends as Meat Loaf’s ‘Heaven Can Wait’ echoed out on speakers.
Vicar of Huddersfield, the Rev Canon Simon Moor, led the service and told how the 21-year-old from Cowlersley had hankered after a career in the military from a young age.
But at his own request his funeral did not carry full military honours because in a letter to be opened in the event of his death to his parents he told them ‘he wasn’t one for pomp and ceremony.’
A moving eulogy followed, given by Major Malcolm Birkett, Daniel’s commanding officer in the 3rd Battalion The Yorkshire Regiment.
He said: “Danny’s self discipline, positive attitude and hard work earned him the respect of his peers.
“In the words of his company commander he was an exceptional warrior gunner whose calmness put many a commanding officer to shame.
“It gave everyone in his team a confidence knowing he was their gunner.
“He was deeply popular. He was a fantastic team player. He had nothing but time for everyone. If you needed a smile, he was the one you went to see.”