Latest: Hundreds line the streets of Dereham for hero’s funeral
Hundreds of people have today lined the streets of Dereham to pay tribute to fallen paratrooper Pte Lewis Hendry.
Pte Hendry will be buried with full military honours in Dereham this afternoon following a service in St Nicholas Parish Church.
Hundreds of mourners packed the Market Place and Church Street before the service to honour the popular paratrooper as his coffin - draped with a Union Flag - was taken to the church.
Pte Hendry - from Dereham - was killed in Afghanistan on February 9, just three days before his 21st birthday.
The service and the committal ceremony at Northgate Cemetery will both remain private, for family members and close friends.
But the Hendry family encouraged people to pay their respects as it went on the poignant final journey through the town - and their wishes were met as shops shut and people left offices to watch as the cortege passed.
The cortege will leave the church at about 2.15pm following the service and will move at walking pace along Church Street, turning left on to the market place, followed on foot by a party of family and friends. It will pass the town's war memorial before turning right along Theatre Street on its way to the cemetery.
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Church and civic leaders have also urged people to break from home or work routines and unite in a display of town pride. Local businesses have joined the preparations by decking shop windows with posters and banners.
A military guard of honour comprising Pte Hendry's comrades from the 3rd Battalion The Parachute Regiment will form at the entrance to the church, and a volley of shots will be fired at his graveside during the committal.
The service will be attended by senior military officers, the Lord Lieutenant of Norfolk, Richard Jewson, and town dignitaries including mayor Robert Hambidge.
It will be conducted by the Archdeacon of Lynn, the Ven John Ashe, assisted by the Rector of Dereham, Canon Sally Theakston – a former Royal Navy chaplain who said: 'While people recognise a tremendous sadness on the death of such a young man who is so closely associated with Dereham, we are proud of the contribution this town has made within the armed forces. We want to make sure people come out in strength to show support for Lewis and his family.'
The Hendry family has requested no flowers but for donations to be made to the Afghanistan Trust. Donations can be made by visiting www.afghanistantrust.org.
A series of rolling road closures will be enforced by police to minimise traffic delays.
For coverage of the funeral, see edp24.co.uk and tomorrow's EDP.