Channing Day: Sister's emotional tribute at Comber soldier's funeral

Claire Savage reports for BBC Newsline

The sister of Corporal Channing Day, who was killed last month in Afghanistan, has paid an emotional tribute at the soldier's funeral in Comber, County Down.

Around 1,000 mourners attended the funeral service at Comber First Presbyterian Church.

Cpl Day's sister Lauren said she was in awe of the dead soldier.

"You are the best sister I could have ever asked for," she said.

"You were very special, but did not know just how amazing you were.

"I'm in awe the more I find out about you each day."

Cpl Day was shot while on patrol in Helmand Province.

She was the third British woman to have died while serving in Afghanistan since 2001.

Military padre, Reverend Albert Jackson, said Cpl Day had been "full of life and vibrancy" during her 25 years.

He said he saluted her "courage, determination and devotion".

He added that those gathered shared the family's pain as the "bright light of your life has been cut short".

"It was short, but it was fully packed with many things, it was a good life," he said.

Northern Ireland First Minister Peter Robinson attended the funeral after earlier attending the remembrance service for the 1987 Enniskillen bombing.

BBC's Andy Martin in Comber

The square in Comber was embroidered by a thousand mourners, who stood around the war memorial dedicated to the hundreds of soldiers from the country town that have died in service.

Channing Day was carried by her colleagues ahead of her family, and behind a horse drawn carriage.

The cort├Ęge paused for a silent prayer beside the poppy wreaths, laid in her memory.

The dedication on one read, 'Comber is united in grief for our girl. Hugs filled with love, your work is done'.

As the winter sun broke through the clouds, Corporal Day's remains were transferred to the carriage, and mourners followed her and her family to the Comber Presbyterian Church, a stone's throw from the family home.

Mourners had gathered in Comber for the funeral from before 11:00 GMT.

The cortege made its way to the town square, where a minute's silence was held at the war memorial.

The soldier's coffin was taken by horse drawn carriage to the church.

Cpl Day, 25, of 3 Medical Regiment and Royal Marine Cpl David O'Connor were fatally injured in a gun battle.

The soldiers were in a firefight while on patrol. An Afghan man, thought to be an off-duty policeman, also died.

Cpl Day joined the Army in 2005 and was deployed to Afghanistan on 2 October.

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