Poignant Carrickfergus tribute to young soldier

Poppy crosses were place in the Garden of Remembrance during Monday's service. INCT 23-752-CON
Poppy crosses were place in the Garden of Remembrance during Monday's service. INCT 23-752-CON

The Carrickfergus community has rallied to the support of the grieving family of Private Matthew Boyd, who died last month in Wales.

The 20-year-old, who served with the Royal Gibraltar Regiment, passed away in hospital after being found injured and unconscious in Brecon, Powys. One man (23) has been charged with his murder with a second male (22) accused of assault occasioning actual bodily harm.

Relatives of Private Matthew Boyd at Carrickfergus Garden of Remembrance on Monday evening. INCT 23-753-CON

Relatives of Private Matthew Boyd at Carrickfergus Garden of Remembrance on Monday evening. INCT 23-753-CON

Matthew grew up in Greenisland and moved to Spain with his family when he was eight years of age. Many of his relatives still live in Carrickfergus.

Members of his mother Michelle’s family, Leitch and Sewell, in conjunction with Carrickfergus branch of the Royal British Legion, organised a tribute at the Garden of Remembrance on Monday evening.

Upwards of 100 people were in attendance to hear reflections on the life of the young soldier, whose funeral took place at Holy Trinity Cathedral in Gibraltar on Friday (June 3).

The 45-minute ceremony at the seafront memorial began with the RBL’s annual D-Day act of remembrance, which included sounding Reveille, the Last Post and lowering of flags.

Matthew Boyd.  INCT 19-733-CON

Matthew Boyd. INCT 19-733-CON

Eddie McKnight, of Carrick RBL, led the service before handing over to Matthew’s uncle, Frank Leitch, who thanked everyone for their support. Further poignancy was added on an emotional evening with the recital of verse about Matthew, which was composed by his sister Katie.

Relatives placed poppy crosses in the Garden of Remembrance and a wreath was laid at the Joymount location too.

Robert McClenaghan, a cousin of Matthew’s mum, explained that she was able to view the service at her home in Spain via a live stream facilitated by Jason Hartley, of Carrickfergus Online. Regiment colleagues were able to do likewise in Gibraltar.

Robert added: “The family would like to thank everyone who took part and special thanks to Jason Hartley, of Carrickfergus Online and Eddie McKnight, of the Royal British Legion, for all their help.”