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Funeral of Corporal Channing Day takes place
HUNDREDS of people joined family and friends of Swindon-born Corporal Channing Day for her funeral in Northern Ireland today.
The 25-year-old army medic, who served with 3 Medical Regiment, became the third British servicewoman to be killed in Afghanistan since the conflict began in the country more than a decade ago.
She was buried with full military honours after a service in her hometown of Comber, Co Down, where hundreds of people including military veterans lined the streets.
Army chaplain Albert Jackson told mourners who packed into First Comber Presbyterian Church, the huge turnout was testament to the esteem with which Cpl Day was held.
He said: "Channing's passion in life from an early age was to be a soldier.
"That was her goal. She wanted to be one of the best. She wanted to be the best."
Padre Jackson described combat medics as angels in disguise and said Cpl Day had been willing to face the same dangers as her male military colleagues.
He added: "She was out on the ground with the lads. She was one of them. She faced all the dangers and hardships that the guys encounter.
"She was a brave lady and her death has been felt by all."
Northern Ireland's First Minister Peter Robinson, Strangford MP Jim Shannon and Stormont junior minister Jonathan Bell were among the dignitaries at the service to pay their respects.
During a tearful tribute, Lauren Day said her sister had been amazing.
She said: "We should all be very proud of Channing and we will get through this all if we continue to look out for each other knowing that we have a diamond in the sky looking down on us all - our very own guardian angel.
"You were the best sister I could ever have asked for.
"You were very special but, I didn't know just how amazing you were."
Cpl Day died alongside 27-year-old Corporal David O'Connor, of 40 Commando, after being shot during a firefight in the Nahr-e Saraj district of Helmand Province last month.
They were overseeing the training of Afghan local police when their patrol came under fire near the village of Char Kutsa.
An initial Ministry of Defence review into their deaths revealed the killings were not caused by friendly fire.
Cpl Day was born in Swindon and grew up in Co Down. She joined the Army in 2005 and had completed tours of duty in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Speaking after the service, Major Kevin Smith, Officer Commanding 3 Medical Regiment, said her loss had had a deep impact on the regiment.
He said: "Channing was an exemplar of a professional soldier; universally respected for her diligence, her willingness to put herself in harms way and her total professionalism.
"Obviously (her death) was a tragic event and it has deeply affected not only those who are still deployed but also the 60 or so members of the regiment who are still here in the UK.
"But, those deployed have a job to do and they have to continue to do that.
"It is no more poignant to have lost a woman.
"We have lost one of our own it doesn't matter who they are."