HUNDREDS lined the streets of Farington Moss to pay their respects to an army officer killed in a road accident.
A full military funeral was held at St Paul’s Church at 2.30pm for Capt James Feeney, 28, who died after colliding with a van on the A2 in Kent on May 15.
Fellow soldiers from the 1st Battalion the Royal Welsh Regiment based in Folkestone carried his Union Flag-draped coffin in and out of the church, and delivered a gun salute.
Schoolfriend Jack Barron, of Bamber Bridge, said: “There was a really good turnout.
“People lined the streets and clapped and cheered as the coffin went by.
“It wasn’t a sombre day at all, it was uplifting because that is what James was like.”
James was afforded full military honours, including an appearance from the regimental mascot.
Mr Barron, himself a serviceman in the Duke of Lancaster regiment, said: “Unfortunately the Royal Welsh mascot, a goat called Taff, died on the same day as James, so the goat at the funeral is actually the mascot for another Welsh regiment that was borrowed for the day.
“It was a really well attended event, we had people flying in from all over the world to say their goodbyes.”
Friends believe Afghanistan veteran James was on the busy Canterbury to Dover road at around 4am trying to get back to his barracks eight miles away after losing his wallet on a night out.
His relatives described him as a real life action man who had always wanted to join the armed forces from a young age.
They said: “He was a unique, very special individual, cramming more in his far-too-short 28 years than most people do in a lifetime.
“His death has been devastating and shocking, but we are incredibly proud of the man he was.”
Capt Feeney was brought up in Lostock Hall from the age of two and attended the town’s infant, junior and high schools before going on to Runshaw College and then Glasgow University where he gained his Masters in history.
He was also a talented footballer, having trials with Blackpool and Glasgow Rangers and later turning out for Partick Thistle reserves.
He went to the military college Sandhurst in 2009 and passed out as a lieutenant in 2010.He was promoted to the rank of captain in 2013 prior to a nine-month Afghan tour.