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'He will be missed'
A former semi-professional footballer who became an ‘exemplary’ Army captain, will be repatriated to RAF Brize Norton tomorrow.
Captain Stephen Healey, 29, from 1st Battalion The Royal Welsh, was killed on Saturday when his vehicle hit an improvised explosive device.
Commander of a reconnaissance platoon, he was on a vehicle patrol in the north of the Nahr-e Saraj district of Helmand province.
He was given first aid before being flown to the military hospital at Camp Bastion, but did not survive the attack.
Capt Healey was born in Cardiff. After leaving school he became a semi-professional footballer, playing for a number of clubs in the South Wales area including an apprenticeship with Swansea City.
After completing a degree in Sports Science at Swansea University, he joined the Army in 2007 and was commissioned into the 1st Battalion The Royal Welsh in 2008.
Capt Healey leaves behind his father John, mother Kerry, brother Simon and girlfriend Thea.
His family said: “Stephen was all you could wish for in a son, brother, uncle and friend. He will be sadly missed by us all. He managed to do more in his 30 years than most do in a lifetime.”
His girlfriend, Thea, paid her own tribute: “Stephen will always be in my heart.
“I will miss him so much, he was my love, my life and my everything.
“Now he rests in peace, he was living the life he wanted to do with his men.”
Lieutenant Colonel Stephen Webb, commanding officer of 1st Battalion The Royal Welsh, said Capt Healey was a first rate soldier, sportsman and was also committed to helping others through his charity work.
He said: “He was a brilliant Army officer and a truly outstanding individual. He cared deeply for his soldiers and they, in return, loved and respected him.
“Tactically astute, clear-thinking and tremendously brave he was an excellent platoon commander.
“Already awarded a Mention in Despatches for his bravery on Op Herrick 11, he was deeply committed to his role here.
“Steve will be equally missed for the enormous contribution to wider Battalion life.”
The plane carrying Capt Healey’s body is due to land at RAF Brize Norton at 1.30pm tomorrow. His cortege will pass the Memorial Garden in Carterton at about 4pm, before reaching the John Radcliffe Hospital in Oxford at 5pm.
His family will be joined in Carterton by mayor Norman MacRaeand civic representatives, along with hundreds of members of the public.
Members of the Royal British Legion and the public will also gather in Headley Way to pay their respects as the cortege passes into the JR.