Family's loving tribute to 'special' soldier

A SUFFOLK family have paid loving tribute to their “exceptional” son who died suddenly whilst on a training exercise in the army.

Kate McGrath

A SUFFOLK family have paid loving tribute to their “exceptional” son who died suddenly whilst on a training exercise in the army.

Lieutenant Peter Rous, 25, of Dennington Hall, Dennington, had just completed a tough run in North Yorkshire on Tuesday when he collapsed. He was taken to a hospital in Northallerton where he was later pronounced dead.

The son of farmer Robert, who was High Sheriff of Suffolk in 2002/2003, and Teresa, Peter had served in the Scots Guards since 2007.

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His mother described him as a “kind gentle man” who “absolutely loved life”.

“Peter achieved a great deal in his short life.

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“It didn't matter if he was chatting to the Queen at Balmoral or a taxi driver. Everybody was equal to him,” she said. “We have a pile of letters, which is just overflowing, about the kind things he did for people and the sort of remarkable man he was. The most important things to him were family and friends, integrity, truth and kindness.”

Doctors were unable to determine what happened to the healthy man, but are assuming he had a heart failure.

“He was an incredibly fit man, super fit in fact,” said Mrs Rous.

“On Tuesday after finishing an arduous run Peter asked for some water and on taking a sip went white, then collapsed and died despite receiving on the spot medical attention. It was fast. But he was amongst friends, doing something he had always wanted to do.”

Peter was educated at Southfield PNEU School in Halesworth, Orwell Park School and then Harrow. He went on to achieve a degree in land management at the University of Reading before completing his army training at the Royal Military Academy at Sandhurst.

During his army career, he had served in Iraq in 2008 where he volunteered to serve with Recce Patrol. He then joined “F” Company in London for ceremonial duties at Buckingham Palace, Windsor Castle and the Tower of London. He took part in the State Opening of Parliament and Trooping The Colour. Most recently he had just returned from duties at Balmoral where he was an officer of the Royal Guard. His platoon was responsible for the Queen's hill ponies.

After the “P” company training course he would have rejoined the First Battalion Scots Guards in Catterick in preparation for their tour of Afghanistan.

His older sister, Laura, 27, who described him as her best friend, said he had always aspired to join the army, following in the footsteps of his grandfather and great grandfather.

“Pete wanted to be in the army from a young age.

“He didn't waste a second of life. He was one of those incredible charismatic people who was so at ease with people from all walks of life. We all realised he was very special.”

In tribute his father, who farms 3,000 acres of mainly combinable crops around Dennington, said: “Peter loved the countryside. He was a consummate fisherman, excellent shot and enjoyed life on the farm. He was full of enthusiasm for everything he did.”

Mrs Rous added: “The Scots Guards has been completely brilliant and supportive of us and we are indebted to them.”

A spokesperson for the Ministry of Defence said: “Our thoughts are with his family, friends and former colleagues at this difficult time.”

Peter's funeral will be held at Dennington Church next week, with all donations going to Help the Heroes.

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