958339THE family of a North-East soldier killed in Afghanistan have marked the tenth anniversary of his death with small but special acts of remembrance.

Pte Dean Hutchinson lost his life in the early hours of Valentine’s Day 2011, along with Pte Robert Wood, when a fire engulfed his tent at Camp Bastion.

In previous years, friends and family of the 23-year-old, from Spennymoor, County Durham, have held charity nights to celebrate his life and to raise money for charities that have supported them since the tragedy.

The Northern Echo: Private Dean Hutchinson

But this year, because of the coronavirus pandemic and lockdown restrictions, they had to rethink their plans.

On Saturday night fireworks were release from his parents Paul and Elaine's garden, and a video livestreamed on Facebook for loved ones across the country to watch.

The Northern Echo:

Today they and Pte Hutchinson's brother Liam and his family, who are in a support bubble, attended a service of commemoration at St Andrew's Church, Spennymoor, which could also be viewed online.

That was followed by an act of Remembrance at the town's War Memorial, with bugler  former Green Howards Drum Major, Bob Purvis.

The Northern Echo:

Mrs Hutchinson said: "We didn't know what, if anything, we'd be able to do.

"In the end we feel like we have achieved something for him on this tenth anniversary.

"Liam and his fiancee, Claire, have collected people's words for a memory book, he was a very popular lad and friends going back to being little, to family and Army friends around the country have made us laugh and cry.

"It has been lovely, people have been so kind with the memories they've shared. After ten years, he still has so much love and support like we do and we really appreciate that.