Plea to give Leeds war veteran send off he deserves

Stewart Cooney.
Stewart Cooney.
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AN ARMY veteran who bravely served his country in the Second World War could be laid to rest with nobody at his grave side.

Now people in Leeds are being urged to ensure the 92-year-old man is given the send off he deserves.

Army veteran Stewart Cooney.

Army veteran Stewart Cooney.

Former gunner Stewart Cooney recently passed away at a care home in Leeds but now faces a lonely funeral as he has no family to mourn his death.

Staff are working tirelessly to make sure he has fitting send off.

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Dougie Eastwood, area trainer for BUPA Care Services, which runs Colton Lodges Nursing Home, said: “I got talking to a colleague about this gentleman and she told me about his past.

Army veteran Stewart Cooney.

Army veteran Stewart Cooney.

“The photographs of him in his uniform are incredible.

“But there is no-one in his family to attend his grave.

“It frightened me to death that this man who had served his country would be laid to rest on his own.

“The hope is that he won’t be laid to rest with no-one there.

“This man could have just two care workers, a priest and a social worker.”

An appeal has been issued to get more people by the army veteran’s grave side, with some members of the armed forces already showing their support.

Mr Eastwood added: “I am amazed and humbled by how these people have come out of the woodwork for some one who has done so much for this country.

“It has really touched people.

“People have really pulled their socks up to lay this gentleman to rest after serving his country.

“One thing is for certain – he won’t be alone at that grave side, that’s for sure.”

It is believed Mr Cooney trained as a jute weaver before marrying Betty Simpson from Barnsley in 1943 – the same year he joined the army.

His wife was in the same regiment and after the war the pair settled in Leeds.

It is believed that Mr Cooney was a former sergeant in the Royal Artillery and was a prisoner of war in Malaysia.

A service will be held at Rawdon Crematorium at 12.20pm on July 22, followed by a burial at Pudsey Cemetery at 1.30pm.

Alex Newman, partner at Irwin Mitchell in Leeds

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