Emotional farewell to popular soldier and dad

Funeral of former soldier Mark Kenny at St Wilfrid's CE Church, Standish
Funeral of former soldier Mark Kenny at St Wilfrid's CE Church, Standish

HUNDREDS of mourners packed a church to pay their respects to a much-loved former soldier who tragically died last week.

Dad-of-three Mark Kenny, 38, was remembered in a funeral service which saw every seat and standing space taken at St Wilfrid’s Church in Standish.

Mark, who spent seven years in the British Army, was carried in and out of the church in a coffin draped in the Union Jack and topped with a wreath of poppies and his regimental cap.

A large procession of mourners led by his family followed a hearse containing his coffin and filled with flowers to church, bringing Market Street to a standstill.

Members of the Armed Forces paid tribute to Mark during the service, with a reading of a poem about a soldier ending his duty and being laid to rest and a lone cornet sounding the Last Post and Reveille.

The service also featured music by one of Mark’s favourite bands, Pink Floyd, with his coffin entering the church to Comfortably Numb and a poignant moment of reflection provided by the playing of Wish You Were Here, a song selected by Mark’s family.

One of Mark’s closest friends raised laughter as well as tears from the assembled mourners with an emotional tribute remembering him as a fun-loving man who was “one of a kind” and will “never be forgotten”.

He spoke of Mark’s deep love of fishing, describing the many happy hours spent at Worthington Lodges, where his friends and fellow anglers are currently raising money to buy a bench in his memory.

The funeral included Biblical readings, while hymns included Abide With Me and Jerusalem.

Rector Andrew Holliday, leading the service, said: “Today gives an opportunity to give thanks for all that Mark brought into each of our lives.

“Two people also have life because Mark was generous in spirit both in life and death, and was an organ donor.

“Those who received transplants have been given life because of him, a gift which perhaps words cannot describe.

“We pray for Mark and all he has done, and ask some sense of peace may be given to his family.”

The service ended as Mark’s coffin left the church to the strains of the moving song To Where You Are by singer Josh Groban, before being taken to the graveyard for committal.