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Grieving Town Salutes Llywelyn
A Tribute To A Welsh Hero

1979 -- 2003

A LONE Scottish piper played the last strains of Amazing Grace as six pallbearers care-fully raised the coffin of Lance Bombardier Llywelyn Evans from the waiting hearse. Llandudno, Wales was brought to a standstill yesterday as more than 1,000 people turned out to pay their respects to one 
of its sons killed in action on the first day of the war with Iraq. In the town centre around 800 people stood in the spring sunshine watching in respectful silence as the pallbearers from Llywelyn's 29 Commando Regiment, Royal Artillery, carried the coffin into Holy Trinity Church.

 Fiancée Becky Williams expressed her feelings for 24-year-old Llywelyn, with a floral "I love you" tribute in red and white roses and white carnations. Inside the church moving tributes were paid to "Welly," as he was nicknamed by Becky, friends and military colleagues, who said he "died a hero and would never be forgotten" in Llandudno. Miss Williams, who was due to marry Llywelyn next year, told the 500 or so gathered inside the church for the full military funeral, including First Minister Rhodri Morgan and Conwy MP Betty Williams, "Welly was one of those people who you meet once and never forget. "Welly had a sparkle in his eye and when he smiled his whole face glowed, he was like a bright light in a dark room. "Without him saying a word I always felt loved and safe. I still do." Fighting back tears, Miss Williams then read Rupert Brooke's poem Do Not Stand At My Grave and Weep before continuing her own tribute to the fallen soldier. "Finally I just want to thank Welly for sharing his life with me. We had seven fantastic years of love, laughter and great times. "I am so lucky to have had that time with him, he was very special." Wearing a knee-length black satin dress, 20-year-old Miss Williams added, "In his last letter he promised he would be a good husband and make me happy. I have no doubt he would have. "Until we meet again my memories will keep him close and I will love and miss him always." 

Che Murphy, a 59 Commando Royal Engineer, who was a close friend of Llywelyn's, recalled how the lance bombardier thought he was the "karaoke king". "Everyone knew Welly as the karaoke king and he used to annoy me with the song American Pie.He would just keep doing that song. "That will live with me for the rest of my life - that song and him singing it. "What I would give today to listen to him sing that again. "All the memories will never replace our loss, but they will help us cope with it better during the rest of our lives without him. "It will help us remember how special he was not only as a soldier, but more importantly as a son, a brother, a fiancée and a real good friend to everyone here today. "In everyone's eyes Welly was a hero. He died a hero and he will never be forgotten in this town." 

Army Padre Major Reverend Rory MacLeod, who played the pipes as the coffin was led into church, read a tribute on behalf of Llywelyn's mother Theresa. He said, "He has done us all a great honour in giving his best in everything he did. "A life lost for his nation of Wales. "Well done son. Your job is done. Rest in peace." Draped in a Union Jack and bearing his regimental beret and a floral tribute the coffin was returned to the hearse following the service. LeAnne Rimes's You Light Up My Life, Survivor's Eye of the Tiger and Samuel Barber's Adagio for Strings were played out over loudspeakers outside the church before the funeral cortege made its way to the nearby Llanrhos Lawn Cemetery. Standing at the church en-trance in a black suit with a white top, Llywelyn's mother was visibly shaking and needed support from Miss Williams before making her way to the waiting cortege. Llywelyn's brother Lee, who was also serving in the Gulf, was flown home on compassionate leave to be with his parents and attended the funeral in full military garb. Later at the graveside an eight-gun salute was sounded three times before two trumpeters played The Last Post and Reveille. His mother, who has been comforted by her surviving sons, Lee, 20, Jamie, 17, and Dewi, 18, touched the beret on his coffin before he was finally laid to rest. 

Llywelyn, a keen member of Llandudno rugby club, died along with 11 others on the first day of the Iraqi conflict. He was one of six young men from the same street in Llandudno who went out to serve in the Gulf. All from Conway Road, they called themselves the Conway Crunchers. Only hours after the war started, the American CH-46 Sea Knight helicopter he was travelling in crashed in the Kuwaiti desert. Llandudno Rugby Club is hoping to organise a match against a representative side from the military with members of the Welsh national squad as a mark of respect