CARE home staff are urging people to attend the funeral of a former soldier who has died without leaving family.

A service to send off former Durham Light Infantryman Bill Lyons is being held at Durham Crematorium at 2.30pm today.

The 75-year-old former corporal, who lived at Bannatyne Lodge Care Home, in Peterlee, died last earlier this month, but staff at the home are not aware of any family members.

Now they are urging people to turn out to pay their respects to the former soldier who joined the regiment aged 16 in 1959.

He served in Germany when the Berlin wall was being created and also in Hong Kong and Burma alongside members of the Ghurkas.

Ian Wilson, who works at the care home, and knew Mr Lyons, said: “He helped police the building of the Berlin wall and he was there three years. He had a rough time of it in Burma.

“He was well-liked. He was a well-loved fella. We all thought the world of him. He was married but was divorced.

“He has got no relatives to speak of.”

Last year, Mr Lyons met two soldiers from the Yorkshire Regiment on Armed Forces Day.

Sergeant Stephen Row of the 1st Battalion and Lance Corporal Christopher O’Callaghan of the 2nd Battalion visited after hearing he was unable to attend the parade in Peterlee.

Mr Wilson said: “He had one hell of a life and I think it is nice for people to realise that.

“People from the home will be going so there will be a few people there, but it would be nice for people to turn out.”