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'Awesome' respect shown to soldier

PUBLISHED: 12:28 06 August 2010 | UPDATED: 11:55 16 September 2010

THE grandfather of Great Yarmouth-born soldier James Leverett has spoken of the "awesome" respect shown by thousands of Sheffield and Rotherham residents as his grandson's funeral cortege passed through the Yorkshire towns' streets.

THE grandfather of Great Yarmouth-born soldier James Leverett has spoken of the “awesome” respect shown by thousands of Sheffield and Rotherham residents as his grandson's funeral cortege passed through the Yorkshire towns' streets.

Trevor Leverett, 60, of Pembroke Avenue, Gorleston described how thousands of people lined the streets on Thursday to pay their respects to Trooper Leverett, as the cortege wound its way on its 25-mile journey from the soldier's home town of Rawmarsh to Sheffield Cathedral for a military funeral.

He said: “The funeral went off without a hitch. It was a really momentous day. Everybody was lining the streets of Rawmarsh and Rotherham. The people in Sheffield were all lined up and clapping.

“The total respect was awesome. You have got to experience something like that to get the feeling you get from it. You get so much comfort from people turning out in such large numbers to pay their respects.”

Mr Leverett said he also took some solace from the fact his grandson was buried in a particularly tranquil and beautiful part of Rawmarsh cemetery.

Tpr Leverett, 20, of the Royal Dragoon Guards, died when his Viking armoured vehicle was struck by an improvised explosive device on July 5 in Helmand. He moved from Yarmouth when he was five and grew up in South Yorkshire.

His coffin, draped in the Union Flag, was carried by six members of his regiment to Sheffield Cathedral, where he was given a service with full military honours.

Mr Leverett's pregnant 18-year-old girlfriend Tiffany Lound was among the grieving family who followed the coffin into the cathedral.

She is due to give birth in September and found out it was a boy the day after she was told her partner had been killed.

The coffin was carried out of the cathedral accompanied by the song Champagne Supernova by Oasis, which had been selected by the fallen soldier in a letter to his family.

Before the emotional ceremony, Mr Leverett's mother, Sharon Leverett, paid tribute to her son.

She said: “Independent, determined, friendly. He wanted to get every minute out of life. He would do anything for anyone.

“Obviously I am proud of him because he was doing what he wanted to do. Although I knew he did not want to go out there in the first place, he knew that that was what he joined for and he did it and that has kept me strong really.”

Mr Leverett, who lived in Yarmouth's Harbord Crescent and went to Greenacre School, joined the Army when he was 18.

He had three brothers Neville, Lewis and Jack and still had close relatives in Yarmouth.

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