Fallen Flintshire soldier remembered at church service

Reporter:

Matt Jones

A FLINTSHIRE soldier killed in Afghanistan has been remembered during a moving memorial service.

More than 150 family members, friends, schoolchildren and comrades from the Mercian Regiment gathered to pay tribute to Lance Corporal Alan Cochran at Christ Church, Rhesycae.

A cross from Alan’s coffin, made from used shell casings, was presented to the church during an emotional service of remembrance.

Pupils from Ysgol Rhesycae, which Alan attended, sang hymns while prayers were said for the 23-year-old, who died in June.

The Rev Hugh Burgess led the service. He said: “We receive this cross in remembrance of Alan, giving special thanks for his life, for what he meant and continues to mean to each of us.

“We give thanks too for Alan’s comrades and friends, those with whom he trained and served.”

The cross was made in Afghanistan from shells used in the cannon fired to mark the death of a soldier, and his parents Shirley and Neil Cochran wanted to donate the brass cross to the church.

L/Cpl Cochran attended Ysgol Rhesycae until he was 11 and lived in the village until he moved to Pentre Halkyn aged 14.

Shirley said: “It meant a lot because he was with the school and he would have loved it. He would have been thrilled. Alan meant everything to the family. We’re very proud of him.”

Members of the regiment, who had only recently been granted leave, travelled from across the country to attend the service held on Friday.

L/Cpl Christopher Boon, who was with L/Cpl Cochran when he died, said: “We got told of the service by Alan’s parents. I have enjoyed coming out of my way to pay my respects. I was there on the day when it happened. Alan was a very well-respected member of the regiment and is missed greatly.”

So far more than £3,200 has been raised in the soldier’s memory.

Alan’s father, Neil, said: “It was a very emotional day, but we wanted it to be light-hearted. The children were marvellous. It meant a lot to us. He is missed greatly. We are very proud of him and what he was doing out there and what all the other men and women are doing.”

During the service, Alan’s younger brother, Shaun, laid the cross in the church.

Rev Burgess said “We are honoured to receive the cross on behalf of the family.

We see ourselves as holding on to it and that it is a community memorial for Alan.

“Remembering those who served their country is at the forefront of our minds during the season of remembrance. It seems the appropriate time to receive the cross and commemorate Alan’s life.”

See full story in the Leader

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