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Town at standstill for soldier

A town has come to a standstill for the funeral of a soldier who died along with five colleagues in a bomb attack in Afghanistan.

Private Daniel Wade, 20, of 3rd Battalion, the Yorkshire Regiment, was killed on March 6 alongside Private Anthony Frampton, 20, Private Christopher Kershaw, 19, Corporal Jake Hartley, 20, and Private Daniel Wilford, 21, all also of 3 Yorks, and Sergeant Nigel Coupe, 33, of 1st Battalion The Duke of Lancaster's Regiment.

The soldiers, who had been in Afghanistan for only a few weeks, were killed when their Warrior armoured vehicle was blown up by a massive improvised explosive device about 25 miles north of the capital of Helmand province, Lashkar Gah.

Hundreds of people lined the streets of Pte Wade's hometown of Warrington and applause rang out in tribute as the funeral cars slowly made their way to St Elphin's Church.

The soldier's coffin, draped in the Union flag, was carried into the church by colleagues from his unit as a Guard of Honour was staged by members of the local Royal British Legion.

The mourners were led by Pte Wade's sobbing mother, Lisa, who was wearing her son's blue army-issue jacket and carrying his photograph in a frame. She was accompanied by his sister Stacey and other relatives.

The soldier's fiancee, Emma Hickman, who is pregnant with their daughter Lexie, followed close behind. Flowers sent on behalf of Lexie, known affectionately to her parents as Number 3, included a poem on the card dedicated: "To Daddy, my hero. I am so proud of you."

The poem said: "A gift in the world so precious and rare, The love that a dad and daughter share, We didn't get the chance to share that love, My dad and I, Because we didn't meet before he died, A prayer, a tear, until the end of time, for a dad I am proud was mine."

The message ended: "Love always, your sleeping beauty Lexie-Mai Louise."

The poem on Miss Hickman's flowers added: "A thousand words won't bring you back. I know because I have tried, And neither will a million tears, I know because I've cried, You left behind broken hearts, and happy memories too, I never wanted memories, I only wanted you."

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