"One word to sum him up - inspirational. A fantastic leader of men, a superb soldier. He had such an affiliation, a close bond with his men that actually he was called 'dad' throughout the tour. That's what they thought of him. He is one-in-a-million, certainly a guy that will be remembered for everything right. He epitomises everything right in the Army."
More than 10,000 people are expected to pay tribute to Skipton soldier Gareth Thursby when his funeral is held in his home town.
A former pupil of South Craven School, Sgt Thursby, was serving with the 3rd Battalion, The Yorkshire Regiment, when he was shot dead by a man dressed as an Afghan policeman at a checkpoint in the south of Nahr-e Saraj district of Helmand province in September.
His family decided to delay his funeral until after the regiment had finished its tour of duty so his comrades could attend the service at Skipton's Holy Trinity Church.