Full military honours at TA soldier funeral

The funeral of TA soldier Graham Bean at St Luke's Church, Moorside, Cleckheaton. (d20051181)
The funeral of TA soldier Graham Bean at St Luke's Church, Moorside, Cleckheaton. (d20051181)
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THE life of a TA soldier who died on duty has been honoured with a full military funeral.

Warrant Officer Class 2 Graham Bean’s wife, Michele, said her late husband would have been so proud of the service, which was attended by 400 friends and colleagues from around the world.

WO2 Bean died of a heart attack while on peacekeeping duties in Cyprus with the United Nations.

His funeral took place last Friday at St Luke’s Church, Cleckheaton.

Mrs Bean said: “He was a wonderful man. His death was a shock to us all but his send off was phenomenal. It was everything he would have wanted. He would have been so proud of everything at the service. The TA was his life – he was in it for 36 years.”

She said he worked for Cleckheaton company APS, which later became Teva, for 36 years before being made redundant, when he stepped up his TA role.

He served terms in Bosnia and Iraq before going to Cyprus looking after VIP guests. He became ill on Tuesday May 3.

Mrs Bean said: “He was on patrol on the buffer zone on a mountain bike, when he suffered a heart attack. It was a terrible shock as he had been as fit as a fiddle.

“Because he has been away so much it’s hard to believe that he’s not coming back.”

As well as his friends through the army, WO Bean was well known in Cleckheaton. Growing up, his father and uncle ran Bean’s Decorators.

Mrs Bean said: “If you went to town you’d spend half the time talking to people. He was that kind of person.”

During the service WO Bean’s son David paid tribute to his father with a series of anecdotes about family life with his mum and sister. He was also a big Bradford City fan and a floral tribute was sent by the directors, players and staff of the club.

The eulogy was given by Lt Col DA Jones MBE. He said: “In the short time I knew him I realised that he was one of the stars of the regiment. He was loyal and someone we could depend on at all times.

“Since his death there have been many tributes made about him, and the guys he served with in Cyprus say he was a total professional and had the respect of every one of us. Graham was held in very high esteem. He will be truly missed by the regiment and the wider army family. He will not be forgotten.”

WO Bean leaves his wife, son David and daughters Hazel and Nicola.