Serving soldiers and standard bearers helped to give a Hartlepool Army veteran a fitting send off.
A moving funeral service for Joseph Reginald Kelly, known as Reg, who served in the forces for 26 years, took place today.
It was attended by serving soldiers from Air Dispatch, the main regiment that Reg served with.
Standard bearers for several of Hartlepool’s ex-service associations were also present and paid their respects as Reg was laid to rest at St Aidan’s Church in Stockton Road.
He passed away peacefully aged 87 in Hartlepool & District Hospice on July 12, after previously being admitted to hospital for an infection.
Reg’s rich life, of which the Army and his family were his two main loves, was celebrated in the service led by Mother Gemma Sampson.
She said: “Nothing competed with these. He was a loving husband, a good dad and proud granda.
“He was a real gent and was loved by many.”
Reg, started Hartlepool’s Royal Army Service Corps Association and supported most of the town’s ex-forces activities following his 26-year Army career which ended in 1978.
His career took him and his family of wife Margaret and two children Tony and Janice all over the world.
Janice was born when he was stationed in Singapore in 1969 and Tony in Germany in 1971.
Reg, born in Southport in 1928, first experienced Army life during National Service, rejoining within weeks of going back into Civvy Street.
Mother Sampson added: “The truth is Reg was Army barmy and never truly left.
“Army life was always firmly in his heart.”
Reg was instrumental in a successful campaign to have additional plinths for the fallen of all conflicts installed at Hartlepool’s war memorial.
And he organised annual trips to Holland with his Army pals every year since 1991, missing only one trip.
Reg, who lived in Loyalty Road, was remembered as a man of strong principles and morals which he instilled in his family.
Children Tony and Janice remembered many happy camping trips adding: “He gave us the greatest gift any parent could, his time.”
Reg was a keen photographer and regular contributor to the Mail’s letter’s page.
A collection was held at the end of the service in aid of St Aidan’s Church and Hartlepool & District Hospice in recognition of the amazing care he received.