War veteran from Lancashire dies while fighting in Ukraine
Video report by Granada Reports correspondent Andy Bonner
A war veteran from East Lancashire has died while fighting against the Russians in Ukraine.
Simon Lingard from Great Harwood, near Blackburn, who was known to his friends as Grimmy, is said to have been killed in action when his trench was hit by a Russian shell on Monday 7 November.
It is reported at least two other Brits were injured in an artillery blitz in Bakhmut in the east of the country.
Mr Lingard's son Jackson called his dad a "hero", and paid tribute to him on Facebook.
He wrote: "After years of dedicating his time and effort to protecting our country, my dad still had more fight in him and left the country to protect the people of Ukraine against the Russian army too.
"My heart is broken to announce that Dad has passed away in battle, a true hero and beloved to so many of us.
"I can't put into words how much he is and will be missed, but I'm comforted to know that this happened doing what he loved and surrounded by friends.
"I love you dad, I'm so proud of you.”
Mr Lingard's friend Mickii Edwards also paid tribute to the father-of-three.
He said: "This guy went alone. He couldn't speak the language, not knowing anything about Ukraine and basically going there to fight. He had three children and that to me speaks volumes."
Many more of Mr Lingard's friends and former colleagues are paying tribute on social media.
One friend said he was "proud to have served" with Mr Lingard.
It is thought Mr Lingard volunteered to go to Ukraine after the Russian invasion earlier this year.
Writing on a GoFundMe page, his ex-wife Stacey writing on behalf of their son said he was an "inspiration to all who knew him, a real life hero who died fighting for what he believed in" who was "loved and adored".
The statement claims that the Ukrainian Military has offered to get his body home to England but said they need "help to show him the respect and adoration he deserves" by giving him the "greatest send off".
The family has launched the fundraising appeal to raise money for his funeral, saying: "Could you all please find it in your heart to donate anything no matter how small so we can honour our Dad and allow him to finally Rest in Peace".
A spokesperson for the Foreign Office said:“We are supporting the family of a British national who has lost his life in Ukraine and we are in touch with the local authorities in connection with his death.
"Our thoughts are with their family at this difficult time.”
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