Crowds turn out to honour hero soldier

CROWDS lined the streets of Lavenham this afternoon to bid a tearful farewell to Lance Corporal of Horse Jonathan ‘Jo’ Woodgate.

The historic Suffolk village was awash with emotion as the 26-year-old fallen soldier’s body was laid to rest with full military honours.

A horse-drawn carriage weaved its way through Lavenham, stopping at the Market Place, by the war memorial, waiting for the family cars to arrive and join the procession to The Church of St Peter and St Paul.

LCpl Woodgate was killed in a grenade explosion while on foot patrol in his final tour of Afghanistan last month. He was days away from an expected return to Suffolk.

LCpl Woodgate’s coffin was draped in a Union flag with his badge, belt and hat placed on top alongside a blue wreath with a handwritten message.

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The churchyard was packed with people who could not get in the church and listened to the hour-long service, taken by The Reverend Dowell Canning, Padre of the Household Cavalary Regiment, through loud speakers.

He said talked of the five centuries of history the church, which have become a part of the fabric of Lavenham and said: “Today we add another page in that history as we bring together the traditions of the army, the church and people in honouring a soldier from this village who died in the service of his country.”

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The service ended with one of LCpl Woodgate’s favourite songs he had said he wanted played at his funeral; Thunderstruck by ACDC.

The family asked mourners to think of a happy memory of Jo as they left the church.

A private committal attended by the family then took place at nearby Chelsworth, where his dad lives.

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