Family tribute to Norfolk-based Light Dragoons soldier
17:00 08 June 2014
The family a Norfolk-based soldier who died on a training exercise have paid tribute to the man they describe as a “true hero”.
Sgt Mark Foley, a member of the Light Dragoons, was killed at an Army training centre in Cumbria on Wednesday.
The 31-year-old lived in Norfolk with his wife Kelly and their two daughters Hannah, seven, and Emily, eight. He had recently returned from Afghanistan before last week’s tragic accident.
Mr Foley, who was born in Hull, was described as “much-loved” by his sister Amie.
Speaking on behalf of the rest of the family, the 27-year-old, who lives in Bransholme, near Hull, said: “He was a loving husband to Kelly and a doting father to Emily and Hannah.
“He was the adored son of Rose, a much-loved brother to me, Jackie and Nathan, an idol to his nephews, Jordan, Leland and Oliver, and a fantastic brother-in-law to John, Kevin and Mark.
“What has happened has come as a huge shock. It doesn’t seem real.”
She added: “He made a small family massive with the amount of love that he gave. He was born to serve his country and make Hull proud. Hull was a massive part of him.
“There are not enough words to describe the true hero.”
The Hull FC fan had been with his wife Kelly, who was also brought up in Hull, since their teens. In a statement, released through the Army, she wrote: “He was my soulmate and my best friend, who always made me laugh. The best dad ever to Emily and Hannah. He loved us, his job and Hull FC. We will miss him so much.”
His beloved Hull FC has also paid tribute to him and has invited the family to their next home game against Warrington on July 4, where they will pay their respects.
Hull FC players have also posted their tributes on Twitter.
Sgt Foley died in a military vehicle while training on Warcop training area near Appleby. The Army said his death is being investigated by the Land Accident Investigation Team.
His commanding officer, Lieutenant Colonel James Senior, said: “Sgt Foley was an exceptionally talented, battle-hardened soldier who embodied everything that is good about our profession.
“A consummate professional, he delivered on operations time and time again, accumulating huge experience on the way. Always inquisitive and engaging, Sgt Foley was at the heart of everything his troop did, everything his squadron did, everything the regiment did.
“Whether in the dust of Helmand Province or the troop store at our Regiment’s home in Norfolk, he was the man people turned to for advice and guidance.”