A VILLAGE united in mourning today to mark the loss of a soldier killed in Afghanistan the day after celebrating his 27th birthday.
Nearly 1,000 people lined the streets of Golcar to pay their respects at the funeral of Lance Corporal Graham Shaw.
The Huddersfield soldier was killed in an explosion in Helmand province earlier this month.
Corporal Liam Riley, 21, who was described by Prince Harry as a "legend", was also killed that day in a separate explosion.
The soldiers, of 3rd Battalion The Yorkshire Regiment, serving as part of the 1 Coldstream Guards Battle Group, were killed in two blasts near Malgir, Afghanistan.
L/Cpl Shaw was team leader of a base security foot patrol when an improvised explosive device detonated, killing him instantly.
Roads were closed around St John's Church in the town as people gathered on the pavements and roads outside.
As the funeral cortege began its slow journey towards the church, the crowd fell silent and many bowed their heads.
Around 15 standard bearers from Yorkshire regiments carried out a ceremonial flag dip as the cars passed.
The family of L/Cpl Shaw wiped away tears and held hands as they watched the soldier's coffin, draped in a Union flag and topped with his regimental hat, belt and a wreath of white flowers, lifted from the hearse and carried into church.
The service, led by Reverend Canon Martyn Crompton, the vicar of Golcar, was played through loud speakers to the mourners gathered outside the church.
Mick Dyson, L/Cpl Shaw's uncle, read a tribute on behalf of the family.
He drew laughter from the congregation when he told the story of the soldier's first appearance in the world.
"For those who did not know Graham," he said, "Graham was born in the bathroom of his grandmother's pub not many miles from here...so you now know why he had such an affinity with public houses."
He said L/Cpl Shaw had been introduced to the Army at just six-weeks-old when he moved to military accommodation in Germany, with his parents
Karen and Russ, because his father was serving there.
He also spent a lot of time in Cyprus for the same reason, which led, Mr Dyson said, to his love of sunshine.
Mr Dyson said: "He always wanted to outdo his dad and only two days before his death he telephoned them (his parents) from Afghanistan to tease them that he had a suntan, and that there were now two metres of snow in Bulgaria where Karen and Russ now live."
He also said his nephew had touched the lives of many and asked: "Was it that cheeky grin or his infectious laugh or just his personality, getting on with anyone he came into contact with?"
Before reading the Soldier's Poem, Mr Dyson said many of L/Cpl Shaw's loved ones would have their own personal memories but added: "Graham died doing a job he loved.
"He was our hero, he was our loved one, he was our friend.
"He was, is, and always will be our Graham."
L/Cpl's parents spoke exclusively to the Examiner ahead of their son's funeral. Click here to read that interview.
For video coverage of the funeral click here. You will be taken to an external site where three videos from the day are located.
For full coverage see Tuesday's Examiner.