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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".

Witness foils attempted robbery of woman in Sheffield

Police in Sheffield are appealing for witnesses following the attempted robbery of a 59-year-old woman.

At 2.15pm on Monday 16 February, a 59-year-old woman was walking along Holme Lane, Sheffield, when she was said to have been approached by an unknown man who tried to steal her bag.

Another man, who witnessed it, is then thought to have challenged the suspect, who fled empty-handed in the direction of Malin Bridge.

Police would like to speak to anyone who witnessed this incident, specifically the man who intervened in order to assist the woman.

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Top teen author visits students for World Book Day

Award-winning author of teen thrillers James Dawson visited a school in Leeds this week to mark World Book Day.

James Dawson with students at The Grammar School at Leeds

His latest novel, Under My Skin, which is a modern take on the classic Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde story, was released today and he spoke yesterday to students at The Grammar School at Leeds about it.

It is a feminist teenage fiction novel concerning the tug of war for Sally’s body. I have given darkness a character of its own.

– James Dawson, author

Under My Skin is told from the perspective of a teenage girl, and Dawson championed feminist issues during his talk, praising role models like author Malorie Blackman, actor Emma Watson, Olympian Jessica Ennis Hill and he youngest ever Nobel Peace Prize winner and campaigner for girls’ education, Malala Yousafzai.

The students thoroughly enjoyed James’s entertaining and thought-provoking talk. I think it is important to promote a love of reading and it was wonderful to hear James address an issue which is important in society today.

– Judith Kerr, Deputy Head of English at GSAL

Hague: Miliband could 'run Doncaster'

Ed Miliband could be running Doncaster by 2018 should his progress up the town's power list continue at its current rate, William Hague has said.

Ed Miliband could be running Doncaster by 2018 should his progress up the town's power list continue at its current rate, William Hague has said. Credit: Press Association

The senior Tory mocked the Labour leader in the Commons by noting he is regarded as the fourth most influential person in the list compiled for the Doncaster Free Press.

Doncaster North MP Mr Miliband was judged to have less influence than One Direction's Louis Tomlinson, who was born in Doncaster, the council's chief executive and the town's elected mayor.

But MPs heard the Opposition leader's current ranking was a boost from last year's sixth.

To laughter, Tory backbencher Philip Davies (Shipley) told Commons Leader Mr Hague: "You were rather unfair to the leader of the Opposition.

"You were right he came fourth in the Doncaster power list but I thought it was churlish of you not to mention he'd gone up two places from last year from sixth."

Mr Hague replied: "It is a faster rate of advance than normal by (Mr Miliband) and it means he may be in with a chance of running Doncaster by the year 2018.

"So, I welcome your analysis on that."

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Doncaster school wins World Book Day award

A school in Doncaster has won the first world book day award for a video they produced.

Hexthorpe Primary will receive £10,000 of books for its school library from American author James Patterson.

A school in Bourne in Lincolnshire also won £3,000 after finishing second.

Click here to see the winning video entry

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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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