Gone but not forgotten - Fitting send off for former soldier from Belchford

Bob Neale
Bob Neale

More than 100 people packed into Alford Crematorium earlier today (Thursday) for the funeral of a former soldier from Belchford.

Robert ‘Bob’ Neale died in Boston’s Pilgrim Hospital last month.

His wife Joan died six years ago and with no other known family, it was feared only a handful of people would attend his funeral.

But Mr Neale’s neighbour Samantha Curtis launched an appeal for people to attend and was backed by the Horncastle and District branch of the Royal British Legion.

Following articles in the Horncastle News, people traveled from all over the county for the funeral.

Julian Millington, chairman of the Horncastle RBL, said: “It was standing room only. The place was packed.

“It was a fitting send off for a brave man.

“People had traveled from all over the county.

“In fact, one former member of his regiment who lives in Scotland and who was in Lincolnshire also came.”

More than 20 veteran’s formed a Guard of Honour.

Mr Millington said one of the highlights was an emotional eulogy read by Samantha.

He paid tribute to the work done by Samantha to highlight Mr Neale’s plight.

Mr Millington added: “To think this has all happened in the last two or three weeks is incredible.

“It just shows how many people cared about Mr Neale.”

Mr Neale was injured while serving in Tripoli.

He became ‘best friends’ with Samantha and members of her family.

A wake was held at the Blue Bell in Belchford this lunchtime.