Page last updated at 10:19 GMT, Wednesday, 22 July 2009 11:19 UK

Mother's tribute to soldier son

Private John Brackpool and Carol Brackpool
Private John Brackpool was due to spend two weeks at home in August

The mother of a soldier who died while serving in Afghanistan has paid tribute to her son, saying he would make "her heart melt".

Private John Brackpool, 27, of Crawley, died on 9 July from a gunshot wound during a battle against Taliban fighters in the Lashkar Gah area.

Carol Brackpool, 54, said: "I still just keep thinking he'll walk through the door and say 'where's my dinner?'"

A funeral service will be held at St John's Church in Crawley on Thursday.

Pte Brackpool, who was a rifleman with the Prince of Wales' Company, 1st Battalion Welsh Guards, had been due to spend two weeks leave at his mother's home in Bewbush from 8 August.

'Cheeky grin'

Mrs Brackpool said: "I promised I'd cook him his favourite roast lamb.

"I still just keep thinking he'll walk through the door and say 'where's my dinner?'"

Private John Brackpool
Private Brackpool died from a gunshot wound in Afghanistan

She added: "Johnny was the joker of the pack. He always wanted to make everyone around him happy and had such a cheeky grin.

"You could never be cross at him for long, he'd make my heart melt.

"It's true to say he was a typical mum's son. We'd been emailing and he'd asked me to fill up the fridge for when he came home."

Friends and family of Pte Brackpool have set up a webpage where people can donate money to the Help for Heroes charity in memory of the soldier.

Crawley town councillors will observe a two-minute silence at a meeting on Wednesday and a book of condolence has been opened in the town.

On the day of the funeral the council will also fly its flag at half mast until 1330 BST.

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