A final emotional farewell has been paid to the country’s oldest surviving former Royal Marine.
The village church where he worshipped was packed today for the funeral service of Albert Joyner.
Appropriately, among the medals on the ensign-draped coffin was a wreath of poppies.
Mr Joyner, who died earlier this month aged 102, had raised thousands of pounds collecting in Keighley for the Royal British Legion Poppy Appeal.
His Legion colleagues, former and serving marines and young cadets were present at Riddlesden United Reformed Church to give their comrade a fitting send-off. A guard of honour was formed at the church.
They were joined at the service by mourners including the Lord Mayor of Bradford, Councillor Khadim Hussain, the town mayor Coun Sally Walker and Deputy Lord Lieutenant of West Yorkshire Richard Jackson.
Charlie Hobson, of the Royal Marines Association, told the congregation that Mr Joyner was a “very special man”.
“He joined the marines in 1930-31 and loved his time in the corps,” he said.
“Albert – who was around during that awful war – was steeped in the marines ethos and selflessly did so much for other people day in day out, week in week out and year in year out.
“Remembrance of his fellow comrades who had fallen really meant a lot to him and he was fiercely proud of what and his colleagues stood up for. He had courage and determination and was a great example.”
Mr Joyner was last year awarded life membership of the association. Mr Jackson also paid tribute, on behalf of the Legion and the Queen.
“He was a highly-distinguished gentleman who was defined by the commando spirit – doing things that the rest of us would deem impossible,” he said.
“He radiated character before he had even spoken. And the revenues he generated for the Legion in his determination to be the top poppy collector were legendary.”
The Reverend Fred Rich, who conducted the service, said Mr Joyner loved dancing and had met his future wife – Rose – at a dance. They married in 1938.
The couple moved to Keighley in 1988 to be near their daughter, Pam. Mrs Joyner died in 2000 and Mr Joyner – a tailor before joining the marines – spent several years at the Tonson Court sheltered housing, in Keighley. Latterly he was at Herncliffe Nursing Home in the town.
Donations at the service will go to the Royal British Legion, Royal Marines Association and Cancer Research UK.