Funeral of Stevenage doctor Karen Woo

1 September 2010, 16:53 | Updated: 1 September 2010, 17:10

The family of murdered British aid worker Dr Karen Woo today paid tribute to their "irreplaceable'' loved one at her funeral.

Dr Woo, 36, was killed alongside nine colleagues on August 5 as the group returned from delivering medical supplies to poor Afghans in remote mountain communities.

More than 200 family members and close friends attended the hour-long private ceremony at Little Wymondley, near Karen's home town of Stevenage in Hertfordshire.

Some had travelled from Afghanistan to pay their respects to Dr Woo, who was remembered fondly as both vivacious and driven.

The family, including parents Techaun and Lynn Woo, said in a statement: "While we have all been deeply affected by the loss of Karen, we wanted her funeral to be a celebration of her life, her achievements and her passions.

"Needless to say, the last few weeks have been traumatic, but there have also been moments of laughter as we've remembered something Karen said or the way she used to insist on doing things in her own inimitable way.

"As far as possible the family and Paddy, Karen's fiance, have arranged the funeral to be 'how Karen would have liked it' - a true reflection of her personality.

"To us, she was irreplaceable. We now know from her friends that she was also irreplaceable to them, and the fact she was so loved by so many is a great comfort to us.

"Again, we would like to thank all who have done so much in ensuring the necessary formalities were carried out in Afghanistan, in repatriating her and in helping us make these final arrangements.''

Dr Woo was due to return to the UK shortly after the expedition to marry her fiance Paddy Smith, a security consultant based in Afghanistan.

The Taliban claimed responsibility for killing the aid workers, who were on an expedition to Nuristan organised by Kabul-based Christian charity the International Assistance Mission (IAM).

The other expedition members who died alongside Dr Woo were Americans Tom Little, 61, Dan Terry, 64, Thomas Grams, 51, Glen Lapp, 40, Cheryl Beckett, 32, Brian Carderelli, 25, and German Daniela Beyer, 35, and two Afghans named as Mahram Ali, 51, and Jawed, 24.

A new charity has been set up in Dr Woo's name.