West Buckland councillor tells of villagers' sadness at death of soldier
NEIGHBOURHOOD Watch co-ordinator and veteran parish councillor Julie Parkin expressed the sadness of West Buckland residents at the death of Guardsman Chris King from the village who died in Helmand Province, Afghanistan on Wednesday. The 20-year-old was
NEIGHBOURHOOD Watch co-ordinator and veteran parish councillor Julie Parkin expressed the sadness of West Buckland residents at the death of Guardsman Chris King from the village who died in Helmand Province, Afghanistan on Wednesday.
The 20-year-old was working as part of a team responsible for the protection of vehicle patrols, which involves checking that vulnerable points are clear of danger.
On the morning of his death, he was on foot clearing a vulnerable point when an improvised explosive device went off, killing him immediately.
Mrs Parkin, a parish councillor for 35 years, was alerted to the fact that something unusual had happened when she saw a BBC van with a satellite dish in the village on Friday.
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"I went to investigate and learned of the soldier's death," she told the Gazette. "Previously, I had thought the boy came from West Buckland in Somerset.
"We are all devastated at the news. It is the only topic of conversation in the village. It's something that only happens somewhere else, but when it happens on your own doorstep, it is terrible.
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"He was such a nice lad, very friendly. We are all shocked."
Christopher King was born in Birkenhead, Liverpool. The family moved to North Devon, first to Landkey, where he attended the primary school., and about five years ago to West Buckland.. He later went to Park School in Barnstaple.
He was serving as a rifleman and was part of a section of Coldstream Guards which had been attached to the Welsh Guards since the end of last year.
Colleagues were quick to pay tribute to his professionalism and dry sense of humour..
Lt Col Charlie Antelme DSO, Commanding Officer 1st Battalion Welsh Guards, said: "Guardsman King will be remembered by all his friends within the Battalion as a consummate professional, undeterred by danger or hardship, who brought great spirit and humour to every task asked of him.
"The words of his brothers-in-arms from the Welsh Guards and beyond are a lasting tribute to this exceptional soldier, fearless character and ever-cheerful friend."
Christopher's funeral service is likely to take place in St Peter's Church, West Buckland, where his older brother, Michael was married just 12 months ago.
His family have asked that donations in lieu of flowers be made to the Help for Heroes charity.