FAMILY, friends and war veterans have paid an emotional final farewell to a “brave” Falklands war hero.
Hundreds gathered at St Thomas’ Church, Rhyl, for the funeral of father of three Stephen Hood, 52, who was found dead in his car on January 3 near Holywell.
Mr Hood, of Elm Grove, Rhyl, served with 2nd Battalion, the Parachute Regiment in the Falklands, and previously in Northern Ireland - dedicating 19 years of his life to the forces.
Some veterans wore medals and military decorations for the service during which Mr Hood was described as a much loved family man and a friend to many.
His coffin was draped in the purple regimental flag of the Parachute Regiment and was carried into the church behind a guard of honour of four standard bearers.
Rev Stan Walker led the service, describing Mr Hood’s death as “tragic”.
He said: “He was a much loved family man and friend to a great number of people.
“This is a time of sadness.”
As a medic with B Company, Mr Hood, known as ‘Hank’ to his colleagues, saw action at Goose Green, widely considered the most intense and significant battle of the war.
He was found hours after Argentine president Cristina de Kirchner re-ignited the row over the islands and Carol, his wife of 26-years had previously said the conflict never went away for the ex-Para.
During Friday’s service prayers, including the Airbourne Prayer, were said along with hymns Abide With Me and Guide Me O Thou Great Redeemer.
One former fellow serviceman described Mr Hood as “brave” and would remember him fondly for his “belly-laughs and professionalism”.
He added: “Hank was an extremely good army medic and when he left the army he was an extremely good civilian medic.
“He found his calling.”
Mr Hood, who leaves children Kirsty, 23, Leigh, 24, and Donna-Marrie, 30, was also described by a former serviceman as a “father figure” and a “very good friend”.
His family wished to thank everyone for their kindness and sympathy and donations were collected for Armed Forces charity Help for Heroes.
Mr Hood, originally from Tranent in Scotland, went missing as news bulletins were featuring the latest demands by President de Kirchner for Britain to surrender the Falklands.
Television reports included historic Goose Green footage, featuring Mr Hood and fellow paratroopers.
Acting North East Coroner, John Gittins, has opened and adjourned an inquest into Mr Hood’s death and the cause of death has been deferred to the inquest which will be set for a later date.