THE heartbroken sister of Corporal Channing Day has told mourners at her funeral: “You are the best sister.”
Lauren Day made the emotional speech at her sister’s funeral at lunchtime today in Comber, Co Down.
The 27-year-old Irish international rugby player said she was in awe of her younger soldier.
“You are the best sister I could have ever asked for,” she said.
“You were very special, but did not know just how amazing you were.
“I’m in awe the more I find out about you each day.”
Cpl Day’s hometown came to a standstill as her cortege weaves its way through the narrow shopping streets.
Around 1,000 people have lined the streets to pay their respects.
Mourners started to gather from around 11 am.
Military padre, Reverend Albert Jackson, said Cpl Day had been “full of life and vibrancy” during her 25 years.
He said those gathered shared the family’s pain as the “bright light of your life has been cut short”.
“It was short, but it was fully packed with many things, it was a good life,” he said.
Northern Ireland First Minister Peter Robinson has arrived at the church for her funeral after earlier attending the remembrance service for the Enniskillen bombing.
Corporal Day, 25, had been serving with 3 Medical Regiment and had been working in support of Royal Marine Commandos.
She died after a patrol was involved in a shooting incident in the Nahr-e Saraj district of Helmand Province.
Royal Marine Commando David O’Connor, 27, was also killed in the incident.
Corporal Day’s funeral will take place in First Comber Presbyterian Church with burial to follow in Comber Cemetery.
The Comber woman had been stationed with her regiment near Catterick before being deployed to Afghanistan. She had been in the Army since 2005 and was a Combat Medical Technician.
Following her death, the Day family paid a beatiful tribute to Channing.
In a statement they said: “Channing was bubbly, sporty, beautiful and lived her life for the Army. She has died doing what she lived for and in the life that she loved. She will be remembered by all who knew her as a wonderful girl who never stopped smiling and who had an infectious laugh.
“She was a fabulous daughter, sister, granddaughter, cousin, niece and friend. She will be so sadly missed by all.”
Senior Army officers also paid tributes to the young soldier.
Her commanding officer, Lieutenant Colonel Phillip de Rouffignac, of 3 Medical Regiment, said Corporal Day had been a star for the future in the Army and whose experience in Iraq and Afghanistan had made her a natural choice for the demanding role she was undertaking in support of 40 Commando Royal Marines.
Lt. Col. Rouffignac added: “Hugely popular with her friends in Preston, Catterick and in Afghanistan, Channing made the most of everything and had lived a lifetime in a short time.
“An Army footballer, she was a real team player in every sense. She will be sorely missed, and the thoughts of all our Regiment are with her family and friends at this difficult time.”