'˜Family of soldiers' to attend Leeds war veteran's funeral

DOZENS of mourners are expected to give a World War Two veteran from Leeds the send-off he deserves tomorrow.

Thursday, 21st July 2016, 4:51 pm
Updated Thursday, 25th August 2016, 7:06 pm
Army veteran Stewart Cooney

Kind-hearted Yorkshire Evening Post readers were set to join representatives from the armed forces and the Royal British Legion at a funeral service for 92-year-old Stewart Cooney, who served as a gunner in the Second World War.

A service only is due to be held at Rawdon Crematorium at 12.20pm tomorrow (July 22) followed by burial at Pudsey Cemetery on Cemetery Road at 1.30pm.

Mr Cooney recently passed away at BUPA run Colton Lodges Nursing Home in east Leeds, but fears soon emerged that he could face a lonely funeral as he has no family to mourn his death.

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Dougie Eastwood, area trainer for BUPA Care Services, feared few would be at the funeral and contacted 269 Battery of the Royal Artillery at Carlton Gate, Leeds.

Mr Eastwood said: “From there it just went viral. I have had more than 40 people call me asking if they could go to the funeral.

“I’m quite humbled by the fact that this family of soldiers have come together to bury this gentlemen with respect and dignity.”

The Royal British Legion Leeds Central Branch were due to attend Mr Cooney’s funeral with standard bearers to provide a guard of honour in recognition of his military service.

A number of YEP readers pledged to attend the funeral service after an appeal was published earlier this month.

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