A GRIEVING family has paid an emotional tribute to a popular ex-soldier who “lived life to the max”.
Dad-of-three Mark Kenny, from Standish, who battled post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) for many years following a seven-year stint in the British Army, tragically died on Wednesday at the age of just 39.
Mark joined the Armed Forces aged 16 after leaving Standish High School, and saw active service on peacekeeping missions to Northern Ireland and Bosnia, receiving medals for his conduct during tours of duty.
His family said his years in the Queen’s Lancashire Regiment were the happiest of his life and spoke of their shock at his sudden death.
Mum Ann Chadwick said: “He had two families, the Army were his brothers and he was a soldier to the last. They’ve all been in touch with us, telling stories about him.
“He never lost contact with them, and if another soldier had rung up and said he was in trouble he would have gone straight to him.
“One of them could have turned up here who Mark hadn’t seen for 15 years and he would not have turned them away.
“He’s also an organ donor, so even in death he has given a part of himself so someone else could live, which was just Mark in a nutshell.
“He’s such a loss and we can’t really put it into words, but we know he’s not suffering any more and he’s finally at peace.”
In his spare time Mark enjoyed hobbies including fishing, an interest he picked up from his father and grandad who were both keen anglers, walking and attending retro-styled dance music events.
His family paid tribute to his ability to instantly get on with people, saying he was extremely well-liked both around his home in Standish and by people he had met on his travels further afield.
He also involved himself in charity fund-raising, completing a skydive for Standish-based group Together on a Mission (TOM) which seeks to raise awareness of suicide, and was planning another parachute jump with a friend for Combat Stress.
His sister Sonya Smith said: “He enjoyed meeting people and would talk to anybody.
“One of the Facebook tributes was from someone who had met him at a music festival, he had given them a spare ticket and they’d spent the whole weekend with him and his friends.
“He loved to go to the fishing lodges at Worthington, and the members there are clubbing together to buy a bench for him.
“It’s been very comforting for us to know Mark was so loved. He had so many friends, more than we will ever know. There are many people we’ve never met coming to see us.”
Mark’s funeral will take place at St Wilfrid’s Church in Standish on Friday, June 14, at 1pm, with hundreds of people expected to attend to pay their respects.
Greater Manchester Police have passed a file to the coroner and have ruled out suspicious circumstances.
An inquest is expected to be opened.