BBC News

Capt Stephen Healey remembered with football match

image copyrightMOD
image captionCaptain Healey was a former Swansea City footballer before signing up

A memorial football match has been held in Cardiff for a soldier who was killed by a bomb in Afghanistan.

Capt Stephen Healey, 29, died when his vehicle was caught in a blast in Helmand province on 26 May.

He had been an apprentice at Swansea City football club before being commissioned into 1st Battalion, The Royal Welsh (Royal Welch Fusiliers).

His old team, Llanrumney FC, reunited in his honour on Sunday and his brother took his captain role.

Simon Healey also wore his brother's old shirt number for the game at the university playing field in Llanrumney, which kicked off at 13:00 BST.

The team, who played together from the ages of seven to 16, were playing against a Friends 11, made up of Capt Healey's friends from growing up and from his time studying at Swansea University.

Capt Healey's father John, mother Kerry, and girlfriend Thea were due to be at the event, which raised £2,000 for his chosen charity - Blind Veterans UK.

He had been an active fundraiser for charity, and in February this year he walked blindfold from Chester to Llandudno to raise money for blind service veterans.

His friend Rhodri Morgan, who was goalie in the old Llanrumney side, said the team had all grown up together and Capt Healey's death gave them the boost to reunite.

"We were quite a good side and we won lots of trophies and cups," said Mr Morgan, 29, from Llanrumney.

"We always talked about getting back together and Stephen was very keen for us to do it when we spoke before he went on tour to Afghanistan.

"And now it's happening - the first time in 14 years. I'm happy that we're doing it but we have all said we would rather Stephen be with us."

Mr Morgan said that Capt Healey led by example on the pitch as his role as captain and central defender.

"It says a lot that he was a captain in the Army," he added.

"We were told by the Army boys that he led from the front, which was what he was like as a teenager."

Mentioned in dispatches

Capt Healey had studied at Swansea University after injury put an end to his promising football career at Swansea City.

He went on to join the Army in 2008 and served a number of tours as a soldier.

In 2009 he was mentioned in dispatches for his actions during a deployment to Afghanistan.

The following year he spoke about how he survived after the vehicle he was in was hit by an improvised explosive device or IED, with the force of the blast snapping a couple of the machine guns in half.

Following his funeral at St Cadoc's Roman Cathloic Church in Rumney, Cardiff, his commanding officer Lieutenant Colonel Stephen Webb MC, said Capt Healy was a "truly outstanding individual".

He added that he would be remembered "as one of the most charismatic and professional leaders any of us will have had the privilege of serving with".

More on this story

  • Funeral for Capt Stephen Healey killed in Afghanistan