Saturday, April 16, 2011

Town comes to a standstill for funeral of soldier Darren Lackie

darren lackie funeral Image 1 

BRAVERY was the word on mourners' lips yesterday at the funeral of Black Watch soldier Darren Lackie.
The mystery of Darren's death in the Algarve is still being probed - with his family and girlfriend convinced there was foul play.

But as his hometown of Cupar in Fife was brought to a standstill yesterday, the focus was not on his death but on his life in the Black Watch, now known as 3 Scots.

Hundreds of mourners paid their respects as Darren was buried with full honours, his coffin draped in a Union flag with his Afghanistan and Northern Ireland campaign medals placed on top.

Commanding officer Lieutenant Colonel Ed Fenton said: "In Lieutenant Corporal Lackie, 3 Scots has lost one of its rising stars who had already taken the first steps towards higher rank and greater responsibility.

"He was one of our absolute top soldiers. He was exceptional and very, very gifted. The fact there are so many people here today, both from the regiment and indeed his family and friends, just shows what a popular and tremendous young man he was."

Darren's company commander, Major Al Steele, told the congregation at St John's and Dairsie United Parish Church in Cupar Darren was "never fazed" by the challenges he faced serving on the front line in Afghanistan.

"Time and time again Darren showed immense physical and moral courage in the face of mortal danger," Major Steele said. "I have no doubt that he was destined for great success with the rest of us simply left trying to keep up."

Army padre Seora Mackenzie also paid tribute, saying: "Darren was a brave young man who was willing to die to allow others to have a better life.

"He loved his family and liked nothing better than to come home and have a plate of his granny's mince and tatties."

At the end of the service, Paolo Nutini's song Autumn was played as Black Watch soldiers emerged with Darren's coffin.

The funeral cortege wound its way to nearby Cupar cemetery where the Last Post was played by an Army bugler before a volley of shots was fired in the air by Darren's comrades.
darren lackie funeral Image 2
The former Bell Baxter High School pupil had been living in Inverness, near the Black Watch's Fort George base.

Darren was found unconscious on a pavement in Albufeira a fortnight ago, while on holiday with his hairdresser girlfriend, Ashleigh Wilson, 21.

His parents Graham, 51, a postman, and nurse Helen, 50, were at their son's bedside when he passed away.

At first, police claimed 6ft 3in Darren had banged his head on the pavement after an accidental fall.

But the case has been reopened as a toxicology report showed traces of a sleeping pill in his system and Ashleigh is convinced they were both drugged while they were out earlier in the evening.
Darren, 21, died far from a battlefield while on holiday in Portugal.

But it was his courage on operations in Afghanistan that dominated the service.
Family and comrades-in-arms told of a dedicated, fearless infantryman destined for a glittering military career.

And the motto he lived by - "The brave don't live long, but the cautious don't live at all" - was inscribed on the order of service.