HUNDREDS gathered to pay their last respects to Yardley Wood soldier Mark Quinsey - who was shot dead in Northern Ireland earlier this month.
Family, friends and army colleagues attended Wednesday’s funeral service at Immanuel Church, Highters Heath. Many wore yellow ribbons in memory of the 23-year-old - who had been murdered outside his barracks in County Antrim.
Comrades from the 38 Engineer Regiment carried the coffin past a guard of honour.
Before the service, Lt Col Roger Lewis, commanding officer of Sapper Quinsey’s regiment, read out a statement from the soldier’s family.
“Mark was right at the very heart of our family and we thought he’d be there forever. It is so hard for us to understand why this happened to him.
“Mark loved life. He was fun, popular and had a brilliant sense of humour, attracting a large circle of friends who he was very close to.
“He was looking forward to going to Afghanistan – he wanted to prove what he was made of. He has been cheated of the opportunity to serve his country, which is what he so desperately wanted to do.”
In the weeks that have followed the Royal Engineer’s death, thousands of condolence messages have been posted on social networking website Facebook. Politicians and members of the Armed Forces have also paid tribute to Sapper Quinsey and his colleague Patrick Azimkar - who died in the same attack.
Detectives are currently questioning four men in connection with the March 7 killings.