'RIP Gregg Stone. A brave soldier, a true hero': Floral tributes left at village cross
DOZENS of floral tributes have been placed on an East Riding village cross, in memory of a young soldier killed in Afghanistan.
The bouquets of flowers have been left in Atwick, near Hornsea, in memory of 20-year-old Private Gregg Stone.
He was shot dead by insurgents in the Nahr-e-Saraj district of Helmand Province.
Since the news, the seaside community of Atwick and further afield have placed flowers at the monument.
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One read: "Thank you for protecting Queen and country".
A local man, paying his respects by the cross, said: "The community is mourning. I think the majority of people in the village have left floral tributes.
"I noticed the flowers on the grass and have been putting them up around the cross.
"They keep coming, not just from Atwick but also from further afield.
"A few more and it will be full around the cross."
Another message accompanying a bouquet read: "RIP Gregg Stone. A brave soldier, a true hero. You'll always be remembered in our hearts."
Private Stone died while rescuing a senior member of the Afghan National Police.
At the Atwick cross, a photograph of Private Stone has been placed towards the top of the steps, accompanied with a Blue WKD drink, two packets of sweets and a bag of pork scratchings – favourites of the soldier.
As a sign of respect, St Nicholas' Church in nearby Hornsea has been flying its Union Jack flag at half mast.
The body of Private Stone was flown back to England last Thursday.
His family and friends attended a private ceremony at RAF Brize Norton in Oxfordshire. The hearse carrying his coffin was then driven through the town of Carterton on route to John Radcliffe in Oxford.
Following Private Stone's death, his wife Samantha, who is expecting their first child, said: "Gregg and I were childhood sweethearts and we met at school. He was my soulmate.
"He was a brilliant husband and a man who loved his family.
"He was always the one to want to make us laugh. He always cheered everyone up.
"He was proud to be a soldier and for what he had achieved in his work."
Also paying his respects was Sergeant Geoffrey Marshall, who said: "Private Gregg Stone had a very infectious personality and a good sense of humour.
"He was a keen family man and devoted to his wife.
"He was a keen, enthusiastic, and professional young soldier with a bright, promising career ahead of him – definitely a star of the future.
"He had the respect of friends, peers and the platoon. He will be sorely missed."