Gunner to get full military funeral

A FUNERAL with full military honours is being planned for a Suffolk gunner who died last week in Afghanistan.

Laurence Cawley

A FUNERAL with full military honours is being planned for a Suffolk gunner who died last week in Afghanistan.

Senior Aircraftman Luke Southgate, of Bury St Edmunds, was just days from celebrating his 21st birthday when he died last Wednesday after a roadside bomb exploded beneath his Land Rover.

The gunner, who served with RAF Honington-based 2 Squadron RAF Regiment, had only been in Afghanistan for a month.

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His family, who live in St Olaves Road in Bury, described him as “the best son, brother and boyfriend any of us could ever have wished for” and said they were unable to express the grief they felt in words.

SAC Southgate was a pupil at County Upper School in Bury - a school still attended by one of his younger brothers.

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Yesterday it emerged plans were afoot to lay on a town centre funeral with full military honours.

St Edmundsbury Borough Council confirmed it was working with Suffolk police and RAF Honington on arranging the gunner's funeral, which has been provisionally arranged for March 12.

A spokeswoman for the council said the arrangements were likely to be similar to the funeral procession of Lance Corporal Adam Drane, of Stanningfield, a Royal Anglian soldier killed in Afghanistan just before Christmas.

It would mean that the car parks close to St Mary's Church in Honey Hill are likely to be closed and SAC Southgate's funeral cortege is expected to come out of the Abbey Gate prior to a procession down Angel Hill and Crown Street.

Further details of the gunner's funeral will be released in due course. It is understood those involved in arranging the funeral are unable to confirm the date and time until SAC Southgate's body has been released by the coroner.

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