Runcorn soldier laid to rest

A Runcorn soldier killed when his armoured vehicle plunged into an Afghan canal has been laid to rest.

Several hundred mourners braved torrential rain to stand outside the packed St Michael's Church in Runcorn where Sergeant Martyn Horton's funeral was held.

Inside, where there was barely standing room, friends and family remembered the 34-year-old who died beside three other soldiers last month. Outside the church the rain hammered down and drowned out the service which was relayed through
several speakers.

Sgt Horton, of the 1st Battalion The Mercian Regiment (Cheshire), was in Helmand Province as part of an advisory team training Afghan National Police officers.

Shortly after 10pm on June 23, Sgt Horton and three regimental colleagues were responding to an attack on a police checkpoint near Gereshk when their armoured Ridgeback fell into the Nahr-e Bughra canal. The incident is being investigated
and no official cause has been given for the apparent accident.

Sgt Horton, of Runcorn, died alongside colleagues Private Douglas Halliday, Private Alex Isaac, all of Merseyside, and reservist Lance Corporal David Ramsden, 26, of Leeds.

Sgt Horton's family, including his son Ethan, nine, and partner Gemma Jones, paid tribute to him.

In a floral tribute of red roses and white chrysanthemums, Ms Jones, mother of the soldier's step-daughter Bethany, 17, wrote: "Martyn, my lover, my hero, my everything. You were the greatest thing that ever happened to me but sadly that
has been taken away.

"I will keep you forever in my heart and you will always have a special place in our home. I love you loads and miss you. Gemma xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx",

The avid Liverpool football club fan's brother wrote: "I am so proud to have you as my brother. If I grow into half the man you were I would be so happy. RIP big brother. Miss you loads. Love, Michael."

And a parental tribute said: "An amazing son who will be so missed by all who knew you. Never forgotten."