Ryan Lock: Memorial for Briton who died fighting in Syria

By Emma Vardy
Home affairs correspondent, BBC South

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image captionRyan Lock's family described him as a "caring and loving boy"

The family of a British man who died fighting the Islamic State (IS) group in Syria has set up an appeal to raise money for a memorial.

Ryan Lock, a 20-year-old chef, from Chichester, West Sussex, became the third Briton to die fighting as a volunteer with the Kurds.

His family are now trying to raise £5,000 for a memorial stone and bench.

He died near Raqqa on 21 December and is believed to have turned a gun on himself to avoid being taken hostage.

'Always in our hearts'

Mr Lock had told friends and family in 2016 he was going on holiday to Turkey. He later revealed on Facebook he was joining the Kurdish YPG militia.

His father, Jon Plater, said: "The family has slowly been coming to terms with losing Ryan. The love and unity within our family has helped us cope.

"We will always keep Ryan in our hearts and we are proud of him."

On the Just Giving website the family wrote: "We are setting up this page to raise money to have a memorial made for him, so his family can visit his special place to pay their respects to a very much loved young man."

Any money left over from the memorial costs will go to the charity Help for Heroes.

media captionThe Kurdish community paid their respects to Ryan Lock at Heathrow

Crowds of Kurdish mourners turned out to pay a spontaneous tribute at Heathrow airport as Ryan Lock's body was flown home last month.

Mr Plater said: "We have been really overwhelmed and by the respect and love for Ryan from the Kurdish community. They have also been very supportive."

UK-based Kurds paid around £11,000 towards the costs of repatriating his remains.

Zinar Demeni, from the Kurdish Community Centre in London, said: "For someone who has gone thousands of miles, after seeing what is happening in Kurdistan, to join the fight against IS, the common enemy of humanity, the least we could do was pay our respects and to bring him home."

The Foreign Office continues to advise against all travel to Syria.

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