Parents Pay Tribute To Soldier Who Died

The parents of a young Dorset soldier killed in Afghanistan have paid tribute to their "very loving son'' who "would light up any room''.

Trooper Andrew Howarth, 20, of The Queen's Royal Lancers, died alongside a soldier from the Royal Engineers in an explosion in the Lashkar Gah district of Helmand Province on Saturday.

He was the third generation of his family to serve in the same regiment.

Trooper Howarth, from Bournemouth, was killed when his Jackal armoured vehicle was targeted by a Taliban roadside bomb as he took part in a patrol to prevent insurgent activity.

He leaves behind his parents, John and Sarah, and his elder brother Marcus.

His family said in a statement: "He was a very loving son who loved his family and friends. He would light up any room when he walked in and would do anything for anyone. He had a heart of gold and will be deeply missed.''

The soldier, who was trained as a reconnaissance vehicle driver, was a keen sportsman who represented his regiment at rugby. His comrades affectionately nicknamed him Steptoe because of his scruffy appearance.

Lieutenant Colonel Martin Todd, commanding officer of The Queen's Royal Lancers, praised Trooper Howarth's "irrepressible enthusiasm, determination and good humour''.

Defence Secretary Liam Fox said: "Trooper Howarth was a dedicated, professional soldier, and an accomplished sportsman, whose enthusiasm and huge character will be greatly missed by all his colleagues.''

The British death toll since the start of operations in Afghanistan in 2001 now stands at 337.