UPTON soldier Luke Farmer was remembered by his family and friends in an emotional parade through his hometown on Sunday.
More than 150 people joined forces with dignitaries to remember Rifleman Farmer, from 3rd Battalion the Rifles, one year and one day after he was killed in Afghanistan.
The 19-year-old former Minsthorpe Community College student died, along with Cpl Lee Brownson, 30, from County Durham, after an improvised explosive device (IED) went off near Sangin in Helmand province.
His parents Mark and Angela, of Third Avenue, Upton, led the parade, which gathered at The Arms at Upton and walked in unison to the Upton War Memorial, on Harewood Lane.
Mr Farmer said: “It was a very emotional day but we could not believe the amount of support we had from people.
“It meant so much to us that so many people still think about Luke. I suppose he was a local hero.”
Members of Luke’s regiment, the Royal British Legion, the local sea, Army and air cadets, members of Upton Rugby Club and civic dignitaries - including the Mayor and Mayoress of Wakefield, members of Upton and North Elmsall Parish Council, and the mayors and mayoresses of South Elmsall and South Kirkby and Moorthorpe - joined the march.
The Rev Derek Mathers held a service at the memorial and performed a blessing in a plaque that has been placed there in Luke’s memory.
The plaque was provided by Luke’s family, friends and colleagues with support from Upton and North Elmsall Parish Council.
Luke’s colleague Cpt Palmer Winstanley also paid tribute to the soldier, which Mr Farmer said was very moving.
The chairman of Upton and North Elmsall Parish Council, Shaun Hodson, said he was proud of the community’s support.
He said: “When the brass band struck up with their marching tune to signify the start of the march it made the hairs on the back of my neck stand up.”
He said that during the march people were saying how humbled they felt to be part of it.
He added the way Luke’s family have conducted themselves in the last 12 months was an example to everyone and he thanked them for their contribution to the community.
South Elmsall and District Royal British Legion organised the march, which Luke’s family hope to make an annual event.
Mr Farmer said: “For it to be held every year in Luke’s honour would be out of this world.
“It really does mean a lot that people still think about him and I want to say thank you to everyone who came and made the day so memorable.”