Elmsett/Hampshire: Tributes paid to major Lesley Boden who has died just five weeks before she was due to give birth

Major Lesley Boden, who has died at the age of 33.

Major Lesley Boden, who has died at the age of 33. - Credit: Archant

The heartbroken parents of a former Hadleigh High School pupil have paid tribute to their “courageous daughter” who died just five weeks before her first child was due to be born.

Major Lesley Boden’s body was discovered at her home in West Wellow, Hampshire, on May 16 after she failed to turn up for work – her unborn child, who was going to be named Rosina Eleanor, also died.

The 33-year-old, who grew up in Elmsett, completed tours of Bosnia and Iraq and was most recently based at Marchwood, Hampshire, with the 17 Port and Maritime Regiment.

Major Boden’s parents, Jim and Angela, who now live in France, said they were devastated by the loss but had been overwhelmed by tributes that had come in from around the world.

In a statement, they said: “Lesley achieved more in her short and exciting 33 years than most people do in a lifetime.

“She had so much to give and she gave generously of herself to others.

“She touched the hearts and lives of many people from around the world. In the words of her colleagues and friends, she was the glue that stuck them all together, a true leader and a courageous soldier.”

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Major Boden attended Elmsett Primary School and Hadleigh High School before studying at a defence sixth form college in Leicestershire. She went on to train at Sandhurst.

Her head of PE at Hadleigh High School, Maggie Brown, said: “Lesley was an exemplary student at Hadleigh High School.

“She was a high achiever across the board and we particularly remember her for being a superb sportsman representing several local clubs and the county at netball.

“She lad lots of close links to the community and our school.”

Major Boden’s fiancée, Major Richard Wade, was serving in Cyprus at the time of her death and was due to return home the following day.

As well as completing tours of duty, Major Boden visited about 40 countries during her life and she had also undertaken charity work.

About 700 people turned up to her funeral at Romsey Abbey at the end of last month.

Major Boden’s parent’s statement added: “The Boden family wishes to thank the Army family for looking after Lesley and to thank all those hundreds of people who have paid tributes from around the world.”

The reason behind her death is still unknown but it is believed she died in her sleep.

An inquest into Major Boden’s death was opened and adjourned.

A memorial service for Major Boden will be held at St Peter’s Church, Elmsett, on September 14 at 1pm.