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Last Updated: Friday, 19 September, 2003, 15:18 GMT 16:18 UK
Tributes to bomb clearance hero
Ian Rimell with his wife Jennifer
Ian Rimell was married to Jennifer with three children

The funeral of a bomb disposal expert killed in a roadside ambush in Iraq was told that his tragic death would strengthen, not weaken, humanitarian efforts in the war-torn country.

Mourners at the service for Ian Rimell heard colleagues from the armed services and mine clearance organisations pay their respects to the former Army bomb disposal expert.

Mr Rimell, 53, died when his vehicle was ambushed earlier this month outside the city of Mosul in northern Iraq, as he carried out work for the British-based charity the Mines Advisory Group (MAG).

Thoughtful and determined

Two hundred mourners joined Mr Rimell's wife Jennifer and three children to pay their last respects at the service at St Mary's Church in his home town of Kidderminster, Worcestershire.

It is our memory of a man who never gave up even in the most difficult circumstances, that will give us the strength to continue our work in Iraq
Lou McGrath, Mines Advisory Group
In his tribute, the charity's executive director, Lou McGrath, told the congregation: "It may be the case that those who murdered Ian and seriously wounded his colleague, Salim, were hoping to deter us from our humanitarian work amongst the Iraqi people.

"But it is our memory of a man who was thoughtful, determined, humorous and generous, who never gave up even in the most difficult circumstances, that will give us the strength to continue our work in Iraq."

Mr McGrath gave a detailed account of Mr Rimell's 22-year military career as a bomb disposal expert in Northern Ireland and Great Britain followed by assignments in Bosnia, Kosovo, Albania and on the West Bank with organisations specialising in munitions clearance.

Mr Rimell had joined MAG in January this year and was posted to Iraq in July.

He was in charge of clearing munitions from an area called Al Hadra, near Mosul, with the help of 18 locally-trained staff.

On September 4, he was returning from a meeting with local officials to discuss how money raised from metal stripped from recovered munitions could be used to help rebuild a school when the vehicle - clearly displaying MAG's logo - came under fire.

Mr Rimell's coffin, which was draped in a Union flag and topped with floral tributes from his family, was carried into the 15th Century church by staff from MAG, followed by his widow and their three children, Justine, Robert and Simon.

Dangerous work

The Reverend Malcolm Warren, who led the service, described Mr Rimell as a hero whose death was tragic and unnecessary.

Mr Warren said: "He died while doing his utmost to clear mines so that others could lead safer lives.

"He was a hero. He did dangerous work in dangerous situations."

Simon read the poem Death Is Nothing At All by Henry Scott Holland and afterwards described his father as "a kind and caring man, dedicated to getting the job done".

Justine said her father was "brave and courageous", before telling mourners: "I know he will always be in our hearts."

The service was followed by a private burial.

An inquest into Mr Rimell's death which was opened and adjourned earlier this week by Worcestershire coroner Victor Round heard that the mines expert had suffered a fatal head wound when the vehicle overturned.

Bomb expert's funeral planned
15 Sep 03  |  Hereford/Worcs
Anger of bomb expert's widow
06 Sep 03  |  Hereford/Worcs

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