Archive - Wednesday, 11 July 2012
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Dead Cwmbran soldier’s school pays tribute
‘THE soldier’s soldier’ was how Cwmbran’s Corporal Michael John Thacker was described as an emotional tribute was paid to him today at his former school.
MEMORIES: Cpl Matthew Thacker remembers his brother Cpl Michael Thacker at the memorial service at his former school Fairwater High, Cwmbran
Members of Cpl Thacker’s family gathered at Fairwater High School for a service held in memory of the former pupil who was killed on June 1 this year.
Cpl Thacker, 27, died after being shot while on watch with 1st Battalion The Royal Welsh in Helmand Province. Born in Swindon, Cpl Thacker attended the school along with his three brothers Marc, 31, Matthew, 25, who is also a corporal in the army, and Ashley, 23, when the family moved to Cwmbran.
His brothers were all at the service, along with his mum Alison, Staff and pupils of the school also filled the hall along with members of the Royal British Legion and mayor of Torfaen, Wayne Tomlinson, as touching tributes were paid to the inspirational soldier.
A memorial was then unveiled at the school by Ms Thacker, which included a photo of Cpl Thacker in his uniform, which he had married in, and the title “The soldier’s soldier”. A memory book is also by the memorial,which will be given to the family.
TRIBUTE: Corporal Michael Thacker
Cpl Thacker was living in Coventry with his wife Catherine and two-year-old daughter Millie at the time of his death.
Head of sixth form at the school, Mark Crozier, who taught Cpl Thacker and his three brothers and organised the service, started off the tributes, recalling his memories of Cpl Thacker who he described as a “cheeky chap”.
He said: “Michael taught me how to love life, how to live life and how to enjoy life.” Family friend John Watkins then read a passage about Cpl Thacker which forms part of the memorial.
He said: “Mike was a soldier’s soldier, a larger than life character. He was highly competent, fiercely loyal and the type of person you wound want on your side when things got difficult.” He finished: “Born of humble beginnings, died a true hero.”
Dressed in full uniform, Cpl Thacker’s brother Matthew then proudly paid tribute to his older brother remembering how they shared great pride when they both achieved the rank of corporal on the same day.
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He said: “Many wonderful things have been said about Michael these past few weeks which have really helped my family in this difficult time.” Speaking about his brother, he said: “I know he is looking down on us all now and he will be filled with pride today.”
A prayer and the fourth verse of For the Fallen were also read before family members stood up at the front of the school to pay tribute to their hero as head boy Robert Spencer played The Last Post. The song Proud by Heather Small brought the service to a close.
Speaking afterwards Ms Thacker said: “It was lovely and I’d like to thank everyone involved. I know he will be up there thinking: ‘This is all for me’.”
POIGNANT MOMENT: Head boy Robert Spencer sounds Last Post