Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Villagers Pause in Respect for Hero; 'The Army Was His Passion'

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Villagers Pause in Respect for Hero; 'The Army Was His Passion'

Article excerpt

Byline: Neil McKay

ACLOSE-KNIT village came to a standstill yesterday for the funeral of their "very own hero".

Dipton, near Stanley in County Durham may only have a population of a couple of thousand, but it seemed as if every man, woman and child turned out to honour Sapper Daryn Roy.

Veterans, some well into their seventies, stood ramrod straight bearing standards as the local population lined the street opposite St John's Church in dignified silence and the congregation sang The Old Rugged Cross.

Windows of scores of Dipton homes were decorated with England flags which, for once, had nothing to do with the forthcoming World Cup but were put up in honour of Spr Roy, who attended the village primary school, drank in the local club while on leave and was known to practically everyone in the village.

The workingmen's club set up a Book of Remembrance for the 28-year-old.

As local councillor Reg Ord put it: "He was a credit to the village, he was well known and well liked here.

"This is very sad, it is like Afghanistan has come to Dipton.

"Why, oh why, are our boys out there coming home in coffins?" Spr Roy was blown up by an improvised bomb while travelling in a convoy from Camp Bastion to Patrol Base Pimon in the area of Nad-e Ali in Helmand province. He died on May 3 in hospital at the Bagram airbase. In the days that followed, his home village became a shrine, with banners proclaiming him a national hero.

Spr Roy's coffin was brought to the church with an escort of police motor cycles. Roads leading to and from the village were closed for an hour before the funeral, which began at noon.

The service conducted by the Reverend Charles Hope, heard a speech from Spr Roy's brother Terry, read out by his cousin Scott, who said joining the army "had been the making of Daryn".

"The army was his passion," he said. "It changed his life for the better.

"It made him the real man he always wanted to be. He wanted more out of his life, which is why he joined up, I am so proud to call him my brother. …

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