A SOLDIER who died while on peace-keeping duties in Cyprus comes from Kirklees.
Warrant Officer Graham Bean was working with the United Nations on the island when he collapsed and died a short time later.
The 54-year-old father-of-three from 73 Engineer Regiment, Royal Engineers, was taken ill while on a mountain bike patrol on Tuesday.
Help was called but WO2 Bean, from Cleckheaton, was pronounced dead at a hospital in Nicosia.
WO2 Bean joined the TA in 1975 and had also served in Bosnia and Iraq.
At the time of his death he was attached to 3 Royal Anglian Group.
The peacekeeping mission in Cyprus was established in 1964 to prevent fighting between the Greek Cypriot and Turkish Cypriot communities on the island.
WO2 Bean’s son, David, 28, is currently preparing to serve in Afghanistan. He also leaves wife, Michele and daughters Hazel, 26, and 17-year-old Nicola.
In a statement, they said: “It has been such a shock to lose a loving father and husband who brought so much laughter and so many smiles to all who knew him.”
British troops in Cyprus patrol the buffer zone or “green line” separating the north and south of the island by vehicle, foot or mountain bike.
The MoD said WO2 Bean was on duty, taking part in a mountain biking activity, when he became ill.
WO2 Bean reached warrant officer rank in 1996 and served in a variety of posts including Squadron Sergeant Major of 272 Field Park Squadron and Troop Commander of Regimental Headquarters.
He was deployed to Cyprus in March where, according to a statement from the MOD, he was “doing something he cared passionately about in the service of peace and of his country.”
It was a sign of his “selflessness”, it added, that WO2 Bean raised more than 1,000 euro (£900) for the Army Benevolent Fund in his first month in Nicosia.
Lisa Buttenheim, the UN Special Representative of the Secretary General (Cyprus Mission), said: “Graham’s passing will be deeply felt by all of us within the United Nations family here in Cyprus.
“I am sure you – members of the British Contingent – are profoundly moved by this tragic and untimely loss. Many of you have known Graham for a long time. I am sure you would all agree that he will be fondly remembered and greatly missed.”
Commanding Officer Lieutenant Colonel Richard Lyne said: “Graham was a proud family man, a trusted friend, a selfless team player and total professional who had the respect and admiration of every one of us.
“A Royal Engineer for some 36 years, he died doing the job he so enjoyed in the service of peace and of his country.
“While we will mourn his passing and he will not be forgotten, we will also remember the difference he made in so many ways and how, for us his comrades and mates, he helped make us and 3 Royal Anglian Group better every day.”