A TERRITORIAL Army soldier who died while on UN peacekeeping duties in Cyprus has been named as Warrant Officer Graham Bean.
The 54-year-old father-of-three from 73 Engineer Regiment was serving as a VIP visit co-ordinator with the United Nations Peace Keeping Force in Cyprus.
The Cleckheaton soldier had been on duty taking part in a mountain biking activity when he fell ill. Help was called, but he was pronounced dead at a hospital in capital city Nicosia on Tuesday May 3.
In a statement, his wife Michele and children Hazel, David and Nicola, said: “It has been such a shock to lose a loving father and husband who brought so much laughter and so many smiles to all who knew him. We will miss you, Dad.”
Graham was a Mini enthusiast and was a leading member of Leeds Classic Mini Owners Club. He had worked for pharmaceutical company Teva UK Ltd until two years ago.
A statement by the Ministry of Defence stated: “WO2 Bean was known by many and his sudden passing has been deeply felt across the UNFICYP.
“He joined the Territorial Army in May 1975 as a Sapper in 75 Engineer Regiment and later transferred to 73 Engineer Regiment based in Nottingham. His natural style and flair led to swift promotion to Lance Corporal in just over a year and by 1996 he had achieved Warrant Officer Rank. Employed in a wide range of posts and locations, he filled a variety of roles including Squadron Sergeant Major of 272 Field Park Squadron and Troop Commander of Regimental Headquarters. In addition he served on operations in Bosnia and Iraq.
“A highly professional and able soldier, it was his personal qualities that really set him apart; loyal, diligent and with a real zest for life, he provided an outstanding example of everything a soldier should be – his ability to walk into a room and lift everyone’s spirits is something that he will be truly remembered for. As a practical example of his selflessness, Graham raised over 1,000 Euros for the Army Benevolent Fund.
“Graham died doing something he cared passionately about, in the service of peace and of his country.”
Commanding Officer, Lt Col Richard Lyne, said Graham would be dearly missed by everyone. He said: “WO2 Graham Bean was a proud family man, a trusted friend, a selfless team player and total professional who had the respect and admiration of every one of us. Our thoughts are with his family and friends at this difficult time.”
The funeral next Friday at St Luke’s Church, Cleckheaton, will have full military honours and a gun salute.