Soldier's family receive condolence books

Published Wednesday, 19 December 2012
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The family of Co Down soldier Channing Day, who was killed in Afghanistan earlier this year, say they have received messages of sympathy from all over the world.

Soldier's family receive condolence books
The family of Channing Day with the Mayor of Newtownards. (© PA)

The 25-year-old medic was on patrol in Helmand Province in October when she was fatally wounded in a gun attack involving a suspected Afghan insurgent.

Books of condolences were opened following Corporal Day's death and on Wednesday, they were delivered to her parents.

Channing joined the army in 2005 and was also a keen athlete who enjoyed skiing, football and ice hockey.

"Channing was my number one. She was a star," said her father Leslie. "I pushed her for every sporting event she could do."

Mr and Mrs Day said their daughter always knew she wanted to be in the army, but they said despite worrying about her safety, they would never have stopped her from becoming a soldier.

"She marched round the living room. She used to put her dad's beret on when he came in from work, she saluted," remembered her mother, Rosemary.

Mr Day said, "It was what she wanted to do from she was no age. We encouraged and guided her to do what she wanted to do, because you can't stop them doing what they want to do and she wanted this."

Mrs Day described her daughter's death as "the worst news you could ever receive".

What they've written in the books, we will take time after Christmas and sit down and read every one.

Rosemary Day

"Part of your mind wants to keep thinking that she's still away doing work but the other part is saying, no this has happened.

"You just become numb, nothing seems real or right. You just keep asking yourself why," she said.

As well as the books of condolences, the family received letters from Canada, America and London at the time of Channing's death.

"A lady who was sitting on a train wrote a letter and a wee piece that was in the paper and sent them to 'The parents of Channing Day in Comber', and 'Dear Postman hope this gets to them'," said Mrs Day.

"For somebody to do that, to take the time in their morning to do that for us. We can't thank people enough.

"What they've written in the books, we will take time after Christmas and sit down and read every one."

As Christmas Day approaches, the Channing family say there be "a lot of tears, a lot of hugs and probably a few laughs because we will remember what Channing was like about Christmas".

Channing was one of four, and Mrs Day said she finds comfort in the close relationship with her children.

"If they're down I try and help them through it and when they see me cry they will put their arms around me and it's the only way you can get through it," she explained.

Mr and Mrs Day said Channing lived life to the full and was a vibrant, bubbly person who will never be forgotten.

© UTV News
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