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Family in tribute to tragic soldier

The family of a British soldier who died following an explosion in Afghanistan have paid tribute to his ability to "light up a room as much as he lit up our lives".

Sapper Elijah Bond, 24, from 35 Engineer Regiment, Royal Engineers, died in Queen Elizabeth NHS Hospital, Birmingham.

He was brought back to the UK following the blast from an improvised explosive device in the Nahr-e Saraj District of Helmand Province on Tuesday.

Spr Bond, from St Austell, Cornwall, was a member of a team that was conducting an engineer reconnaissance task.

His colleagues provided immediate first aid following the explosion, before he was evacuated by helicopter to the military hospital in Camp Bastion where he received further treatment. He was then flown to the hospital in Birmingham, where he died of his wounds.

He leaves behind his mother Lizz, father Mark, brothers Isaac and Jose, and sisters Kimberley and Bethany.

His family said in a statement: "Elijah Cooper Bond left the world in the way he chose to live his life.

"He was a beautiful son, amazing brother, a proud uncle and our best friend. From a wicked grin to a righteous smile he could light up a room as much as he lit up our lives, so mischievous and fun yet grounded and down to earth.

"He will forever be a piece of us and remain in our hearts. We are thankful for the memories we have been given and the precious time we spent with him. We have faith in the sure and certain knowledge that we will be reunited together again."

A total of 391 British troops have died since the start of operations in Afghanistan in 2001.

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