Full military honours for courageous Jo

A FUNERAL with full military honours will take place in a Suffolk village on St George’s Day, to pay a fitting final farewell to hero soldier Jo Woodgate.

A FUNERAL with full military honours will take place in a Suffolk village on St George’s Day, to pay a fitting final farewell to hero soldier Jo Woodgate.

Villagers in Lavenham, where the 26-year-old killed by a hand grenade in Afghanistan last month lived, will get the chance to honour Lance Corporal of Horse Woodgate on April 23.

Shopkeepers are planning to shut up for a planned 2pm service at St Peter and St Pauls Church as a tribute to a soldier his comrades have described as a character everyone wanted to lead them into battle.

L/CP Woodgate, of the Household Cavalary Regiment, had been due to return to Lavenham days before the tragedy struck near Sangin, Afghanistan on Friday, March 26. He had previously told of how he had “cheated death” after miraculously surviving an American “friendly fire” incident which killed his friend sitting next to him in a vehicle in Iraq in 2003.


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Lyn Gurling, chairman of Lavenham Parish Council, said: “It is a very appropriate day and I hope it will be a fine one.

“I believe a lot of shopkeepers will be closing and people will be standing outside to bid him farewell.”

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Mourners are expected to line the streets in what will be one of the biggest funerals ever to be held in the medieval village, with Ministry of Defence chiefs helping family and parish officials plan for an anticipated 500 cars as scores of L/CP Woodgate’s comrades, friends and family turn up.

A spokeswoman for the Army said yesterday: “The funeral of Lance Corporal of Horse Jonathan Woodgate will take place on the 23rd of April.”

Similar levels of emotion will be expressed as was seen on the streets of Wootton Bassett in Wiltshire last month where hundreds of people turned out to watch the cortege carrying his body to the coroner’s office following a repatriation service at RAF Lyneham.

L/CP Woodgate’s father brought mourners to tears and received a thunderous round of applause when he unexpectedly stepped out onto the road and thanked everyone on his son’s behalf.

“As Lance Corporal Woodgate’s father, I know he would really have wanted me to thank you all for coming – he would really have appreciated that,” said Tony Woodgate, of Chelsworth.

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