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Fallen soldier's mother pays tribute in local paper

A grieving mother of a fallen teenage soldier paid tribute to her son through the pages of her local paper.

The Hull Daily Mail ran an interview with the fiancée of local soldier Johnathon Young who died in Afghanistan last week.

When his mother Angie Fox saw the piece, she contacted the Northcliffe daily through an Army family liaison officer who told the paper she would like to see family tributes published as well.

She had hand written seven pages of emotional tributes exclusively for the paper about the 18-year-old, who died while on foot patrol in Helmand Province last Thursday.

Senior reporter Kevin Shoesmith travelled to Afghanistan last month to see the work of the Light Dragoons which recruit heavily from the Hull area.

Within days of Kevin returning, two soldiers serving in Afghanistan were killed and sources disclosed to the Mail that one of them was Johnathon.

When Kevin went to the family home he found a note on the front gate requesting privacy from the media but a neighbour told him about Johnathon’s fiancée.

Kevin secured an exclusive interview with her after contacting her through Facebook, which was later followed up by national media including the Daily Mirror and The Sun.

Following its publication on Monday, Johnathon’s mother contacted the Hull Daily Mail requesting it carried her tributes as well.

Kevin said: “I think it’s because we live on their patch. We respected the fact that the family had placed a notice on their front gate, stepped back and saw the bigger picture.”

Mail editor John Meehan added: “Kevin’s work was truly exceptional journalism, reporting in difficult circumstances on the front line and back at home.

“His professional and sensitive approach persuaded Pte Young’s girlfriend to be interviewed. Subsequently Pte Young’s mother and other members of his family turned to us, requesting that we publish their own tributes.

“They knew they could trust their local paper to cover the story accurately, responsibly and with the utmost sensitivity.”