Video: Rocket tribute to Leeds war hero

A fallen hero had his final wish granted as his ashes were sent skyward during a firework display over his hometown.

The unusual tribute in Morley took place on the first anniversary of Lance Corporal David Kirkness's death.

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The 24-year-old was credited with saving scores of lives when he was killed preventing the bombing of a marketplace in Afghanistan.

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He had previously told his mum Maggie that if anything happened to him, he wanted to be sent up in a firework above Morley Town Hall.

His request came true as around 150 family and friends watched the poignant display in Scatcherd Park.

Mrs Kirkness said: "It was amazing. He would have loved it.

"We have done it and that's what he wanted."

A big screen showed a montage of photographs of L/Cpl Kirkness, right, before spectacular fireworks lit up the night.

It was concluded by buglers sounding the Last Post, after which a series of rockets containing the dad-of-one's ashes were set off in a moving tribute.

A specialist company incorporated his ashes into the display.

Mrs Kirkness, of Morley, said it was typical of her son's sense of humour to have such an unusual request.

"He had wanted somebody to skydive with his ashes but luckily for me he changed his mind," she said.

"I know he will be smiling, thinking 'go on mother, I knew you would do it'. That was typical of David.

"I'm very upset but I am also proud."

Mrs Kirkness added that some of his ashes had been interred at Crigglestone Cemetery in Wakefield but this was another way to say goodbye.

"This is the last time I could say ta-ra to him," she added.

"I've nothing else to do for him apart from the fundraising."

So far his family has collected a total of 7,000 for Help for Heroes

and Care for Casualties.

Among the crowd were some of L/Cpl Kirkness's fellow soldiers from 3rd Battalion The Rifles, who had travelled from all over the country.

Major David Jarratt, from The Rifles, paid tribute to Mrs Kirkness and the authorities for facilitating the event, which he said was a "triumph".

Morley Councillor Terry Grayshon added: "It was a fitting tribute to a soldier who will not be returning to these shores.

"It's a very sad time of year for Maggie and the family and the community will be there to support them as best we can."

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