Service will celebrate life of a young hero

Brize Norton, Repatriation of Lance Corporal James Ashworth from the 1st Battalion Grenadier Guards: James's two brothers Coran and Karl, and his girlfriend (left).'21/06/12
Brize Norton, Repatriation of Lance Corporal James Ashworth from the 1st Battalion Grenadier Guards: James's two brothers Coran and Karl, and his girlfriend (left).'21/06/12

The funeral of Lance Corporal James Ashworth, who was killed in action in Afghanistan, is to be held on Tuesday, July 3, and the service will be a celebration of his life.

It is to be held at 11am at Our Lady’s Church, in Occupation Road, Corby, and the young hero’s family have asked mourners not to wear black.

It will be a military funeral and people in the town are welcome to go along to pay their respects to the 23-year-old from Corby who died on Wednesday, June 13, in Helmand province while on patrol with the Reconnaissance Platoon of the 1st Battalion Grenadier Guards.

His commanders paid tribute to his bravery after he died trying to save his men.

A repatriation ceremony was held on Thursday, June 21, at RAF Brize Norton, attended by family and friends.

After the service at Our Lady’s Church, there will be a private farewell for Lance Corporal Ashworth’s family at Kettering Crematorium.

His brother Coran, 21, a soldier serving in Northern Ireland, said: “We want Tuesday to be a celebration of James’ life and we welcome people to the church.

“We would prefer people not to wear black. Last Thursday was the day of mourning.”

After last week’s repatriation ceremony, Lance Corporal Ashworth’s mum Kerry, who lives in Corby, said: “I would like to thank all James’ friends, schoolfriends, members of his football team, the Army and the British Legion for all the support they have given and continue to give.

“I would also like to thank the people of Corby for their support and comfort. Never have I felt so proud to be from Corby. I would also like to say that we are blessed to have Emily, James’ girlfriend, who will always be a part of our family. James was fun-loving, had a great sense of humour and was a true gentleman.

“He died doing what he loved and I supported him when he joined the Army, as I have supported all my children in what they have done.”

Lance Corporal Ashworth’s family arrived at the memorial garden, just outside the airbase, where they met relatives and friends who had travelled from Corby to Carterton for the repatriation ceremony.

The standards of 18 branches of the British Legion were lowered in respect as the cortege arrived. Among them was the standard of the legion’s Corby branch carried by its secretary Gareth Price.

Lance Corporal Ashworth’s dad Duane, 44, who was a Grenadier, said: “My son died a soldier’s death. He died a hero and I feel an overwhelming sense of pride.”

Sisters Lauren and Paige and brothers Coran and Karl, 19, and girlfriend Emily also attended the ceremony.

There will be family flowers only at the funeral but donations can be made to BLESMA, the British Limbless Ex-servicemen’s Association.

There will also be a collection for Help for Heroes.