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Former classmates plan memorial for soldier killed fighting IS

Schoolfriends of the former Royal Marine from Barnsley killed fighting against Islamic State in Syria say they are mourning a "real character" and remembering his "cheeky smile".

Former US soldier Jordan Matson posted a picture he says is ex-Royal Marine Konstandions Erik Sculfield Credit: Facebook/Jordan Matson

Konstandinos Erik Scurfield from Royston, was reportedly shot dead on Monday while fighting alongside Kurdish forces in the frontline village of Tel Khuzela.

Mr Scurfield's friends from Royston High School, where he studied until 2006, said they are hoping to organise a reunion event in his memory.

And they said they are struggling to reconcile the reports of his front-line fighting in Syria with the laid-back, long-haired, drama-loving teenager they knew.

Emma Hyman, 24, said his school friends have found it difficult to match the fun-loving actor who was loved by everyone in his year with the pictures they have seen of him over the last couple days in military poses wearing combat fatigues.

"He was definitely a bit of an extrovert and he wanted to be a actor," Miss Hyman said.

"He was such a people-person and when he went into the forces it was a big surprise. He wasn't a fighter. He didn't get into any fights at school or anything like that. It's a bit of a mystery because he didn't show interest in those kind of things at all at school. You put people in groups - certain things they might do with their lives and I would never have had him down as becoming a soldier."

She said he also had long hair at school, adding: "Seeing these pictures with his short, soldier hair, is really strange."

Miss Hyman said Mr Scurfield, who was known as Kosta at school, was an extremely popular student and was also very clever - in the top sets for everything.

She said he came to Royston High, which no longer exists, in his early teens from Nottingham and was immediately noticeable because he did not have the ubiquitous Barnsley accent and was "really well-spoken, very polite and very respectful".

She said: "Everybody loved him because he was a real character. He was one of those people who you couldn't find anything negative at all to say about him. He was friendly and funny and really laid back. He had such a cheeky smile. He got on with everybody. That's why it's such a shock for us all. We're trying to organise something so we can all get together and remember him. It's at the early stages at the moment. It's a shame we are going to all come together in these circumstances."

Mr Scurfield's family earlier spoke of their pride in him, while his former partner described him as "amazing" for "doing an unselfish act".

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Family of ex-Royal Marine killed fighting IS speak of pride

The devastated family of ex-Royal Marine Konstandinos Erik Scurfield, killed in Syria fighting Islamic State militants, have paid tribute to the soldier.

In a statement, they said:

His flame might have burned briefly but it burned brightly with love, courage, conviction and honour and we are very proud of him.

– Scurfield family statement

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Ex-Marine killed in Syria 'wanted to make a difference'

Scurfield is believed to have died in battle on Monday.

A former Royal Marine that died fighting against Islamic State in Syria had travelled there to "help other people and to make a difference", his ex-girlfriend has said.

Speaking to the Telegraph, Jemma Weston described her former partner Konstandinos Erik Scurfield as "amazing" for "doing an unselfish act" in joining Kurdish forces' efforts against the militant group.

Scurfield was reportedly shot dead on Monday during a battle in the frontline village of Tel Khuzela.

Weston said that while they had ended their relationship, Scurfield had told her he wanted to return home to her, and said she was heartbroken at the news of his death.

Scurfield was an expert in battlefield medicine, and Weston said he believed going to help against IS was something he had to do.

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Brit killed in Syria 'originally went to give medical aid'

An ex-Royal Marine killed while fighting against Islamic State militants alongside Kurdish forces originally headed to Syria to provide medical aid, an MP has said.

Konstandinos Erik Scurfield Credit: Facebook/Jordan Matson

In an interview with Sky News, Dan Jarvis, who represents the Barnsley Central constituency, said he believed Konstandinos Erik Scurfield had travelled to the troubled region for "honourable reasons".

My understanding is that he had very significant ideological concerns about what is happening, about the actions Islamic State were taking in the region, and he wanted to make a contribution.

My understanding is that he went there to make a humanitarian contribution, he didn't go there to fight, he provided medical assistance.

In terms of precisely what's happened, we don't know yet but my understanding was that he went there for honourable reasons.

– Dan Jarvis MP, Barnsley Central

He urged anyone else with "legitimate concerns" about Islamic State not to travel to the Middle East, and instead support charities working in the region.

Ex-Barnsley Marine first Brit Killed fighting Islamic State

A former Royal Marine has become the first Briton to be killed while fighting against Islamic State in Syria.

Former Royal Marine Konstandinos Erik Scurfield was 25-years-old.

He travelled to Syria to work alongside Kurdish forces proving medical aid.

Today, his family has paid tribute to him, saying his flame burned brightly with love, courage, conviction and honour. Frazer Maude reports:

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Family pay tribute to son who "went to support the forces opposing Islamic State"

The family of former Royal Marine Konstandinos Erik Scurfield , who was from Barnsley, have paid tribute to their son who was killed while fighting against Islamic State militants.

Konstandinos Erik Scurfield Credit: Facebook/ Jason Matson

"We are devastated to confirm the death of our son Konstandinos Erik Scurfield in Syria where he went to support the forces opposing Islamic State.

"His flame might have burned briefly but it burned brightly with love, courage, conviction and honour and we are very proud of him.

"We would like to request that we be allowed to grieve in peace as a family without intrusion at this difficult time."

– The family of Konstandinos Erik Scurfield

Ex-marine killed in Syria "wanted to be an actor"

A neighbour of the former Barnsley marine killed fighting Islamic State militants in Syria wanted to be an actor before he became a soldier.

Mrs Mary Hemmings, who lives next door to the family, said Konstandinos Erik Scurfield had a lovely personality and film-star good looks.

She said he moved to the street with his parents and sister from Nottingham about 12 years ago.

She said she had known Mr Scurfield since he was at school and he would come and talk to her about his adventures in the Royal Marines.

The pensioner said he did a university course in drama before joining the military and had ambitions to become a professional actor.

Mrs Hemmings said she thought he may have had a few roles before enlisting in the Marines.

"He had a wonderful personality. He was a friendly person and he was a very handsome young man.

And as a child he was super-looking and he grew up to be a film star, if you like.

"And when he was wanting to go into acting I thought 'with his looks he'll do
a good job', but he didn't get there, unfortunately.

" I don't know why he went to Syria but I'm sure he would have been well aware of the dangers.

"This is what you've got admire about people like that.

"I've had to sit down and pull myself together. I really am terribly, terribly upset.

"He was a lovely young man. He was very, very
interesting to talk to. When he came on leave, which was not very often, I used to see him and have a chat. He was lovely to talk to.

"He loved what he was doing in the Marines. Why on earth he's gone out to Syria ... it's a great pity. "He was confident in what he did but he wasn't a show-off or anything, no way."

– Mary Hemmings, Neighbour
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