Tributes paid to soldiers who died in Afghanistan

Tributes have ben paid to two soldiers who died on active service in Afghanistan.

Around 700 people were inside and outside the funeral service of Private Dean Hutchinson, from Spennymoor, County Durham, who was killed in a blaze last month.

The 23-year-old driver with the Royal Logistic Corps was described as a much-loved comrade, known for his sense of humour and hard-working attitude.

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Before the service at St Andrew’s Church, St Andrew’s Road, Spennymoor, Captain Dave Groce said: “He was one of the people who, if you meet him once, you remember him forever.”

In the church, Private Sean Freeman said: “He was the kind of person who would make everyone laugh so much we would cry.

“Dean’s trademark was that he always wanted to make people happy.”

Known as Hutch, the Newcastle United fan was fondly remembered for his zest for life and for being a larger than life character.

His family issued a statement after the tragedy, which did not involve the enemy, saying: “Dean was an amazing son, brother and boyfriend; we were so proud of him when he joined the Army, as were his family and friends, all of whom loved him very much.

“He will always be in our hearts and thoughts. Forever and always, we love you son.”

Veterans bowed their heads and lowered regimental standards as the hearse arrived at the church.

As the coffin was brought out at the end of the ceremony, He Ain’t Heavy, He’s My Brother by The Hollies was played.

The fire at Camp Bastion also claimed the life of Private Robert Wood, also of the Royal Logistic Corps.

Mourners also gathered yesterday for the funeral of a soldier who was shot dead in Afghanistan.

Private Conrad Lewis of 4th Battalion The Parachute Regiment, was killed alongside Private Lewis Hendry, of 3rd Battalion The Parachute Regiment, as they patrolled an area in the north of Nad-e Ali district of Helmand province on February 9. They had been on a foot patrol to reassure the local population and gather census information when they came under enemy fire.

Pte Lewis, 22, a reservist soldier from Bournemouth, was described by his family as someone who “made you feel good about life”.

His funeral, with full military honours, took place at The Collegiate Church of St Mary in Warwick at 1pm.

A firing party fired a volley of shots outside the church after the service.