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2016_11_08_SOLDIERS_FUNERAL

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06/11/16<br />
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In a particularly poignant ceremony, given that this week is traditionally the time we remember those who died in war, several hundred complete strangers turned up (to pay their respects) at the funeral of an old soldier who died last week, leaving no known relatives.<br />
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It was an amazing response to a Facebook appeal launched by staff at Derby Royal Hospital, who had grown close to 95-year-old ex-Royal Pioneer Corps soldier John Kearns after he spent several weeks in their care, with just one friend visiting him.<br />
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Nurses feared no-one would be at the funeral of Mr Kearns, who served in the forces for almost 30 years.<br />
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So they contacted the Derbyshire branch of the Royal British Legion who launched a social media appeal to get as many veterans to attend the service, held at Markeaton crematorium in Derby, as possible.<br />
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The touching plea was quickly shared on Facebook with many pledging their support and promising to turn up on the day.<br />
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It was a fitting tribute to a soldier who served from 1943 to 1975, including periods stationed at the Suez Canal, and then the next seven years with the territorial army. <br />
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***Further information***<br />
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Mr Kearns lived in Lace Maker Court, Long Eaton, Derbyshire.<br />
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Records found at his house state that Mr Kearns  enlisted on August 5, 1943, in the Royal Army Pioneer Corp, in Belfast, and served with them for the whole of his Army career as a private<br />
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