HUNDREDS are expected to line the streets of Washington on Wednesday for the funeral of Sapper Richard Walker.
The 23-year-old, of Blackfell, died earlier this month in an apparent insider attack by a member of the Afghan National Army (ANA), at Patrol Base Hazrat in the Nahr-e Saraj district of Helmand province.
The service for Sapper Walker, a former pupil of Washington School, will take place at Our Lady Immaculate Roman Catholic Church, Washington Village, at 10.30am, on January 30.
The funeral procession will leave his Blackfell home prior to the service and make its way to the church.
Hundreds of people are due to turn out to say their final goodbyes to the young hero.
Sapper Walker was working on a construction task with other military engineers from his troop, as part of preparations to hand the camp over to Afghan security forces, when the rogue soldier turned his weapon on ANA and international security force soldiers at the base on Monday, January 7.
His mother Kathryn Walker, 46, will attend the service along with his brothers, sisters, close family and friends.
Army colleagues of the young soldier, who served with him, are also due to be at the service.
Sapper Walker was repatriated at RAF Brize Norton last Thursday before being brought back to the North East today.
The SAFC fan leaves behind a 21-month-old daughter, Lilly-Faith, whose mum, Abbie Revill, 23, is being supported by friends and family.
Sapper Walker had worked as a technician for Vauxhall Motors before joining the Royal Engineers in July 2008 where he trained as a driver.
He had been based in Hameln, Germany, but carried out tours of Canada and Kenya prior to his first tour of Afghanistan which began last August.
The soldier had been due to return back to the UK in just a few weeks’ time where he had been looking forward to being reunited with his family.