Dedication service held in memory of a fallen soldier from Okehampton
The mother of a fallen soldier has described her son as a wonderful person at the dedication service held in his memory.
Friends, family and comrades attended the service to honour the life of Corporal Michael Pike at Okehampton's Parish Church in the town he called home.
Cpl Pike was killed in Afghanistan while leading a patrol on June 3, 2011, aged 26. He served as a section commander with the Highlanders, 4th Battalion The Royal Regiment of Scotland.
His mother Brenda, from Petrockstowe, said her son always had a smile on his face and kept the morale of his fellow soldiers high.
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She said: "He had a wonderful sense of humour. His family adored him, always have and always will.
"His charisma spread, he was loved by so many people, he really was a top lad. Michael adored his job, he wanted to join the Army since he was five. He lived life to the full."
She added: "The whole family were looking forward to this dedication service. It was not a day of sadness, instead it was a day of joy and pride."
Mrs Pike said Michael's fellow soldiers were a huge support after he died. She said: "Without the support of the Highlanders we couldn't have got through this. We are never alone, there is always somebody there for us. The whole family would like to thank everyone who made this service possible. It was breathtaking."
Major Peter Williams, secretary of the Royal British Legion Okehampton branch, said Cpl Pike was well liked in the community. He said: "A lot of people in the town can remember him as a child. He seemed very proud of his Okehampton roots. Having spoken to lots of people, Corporal Pike was a great soldier who showed a lot of promise."
The Reverend Stephen Cook led the service on Tuesday at the war memorial at All Saints Parish Church.
He said: "This is a sad occasion, but also one of great pride."
A Highlanders piper played a lament before a minute's silence. Family laid flowers and wreaths at the foot of the stone memorial before prayers were read.
Michael was born in Okehampton and moved to Huntley in Scotland when he was four-and-a-half years old. He enrolled with the Army straight from school aged 16, and went on to tour in Afghanistan and Iraq.
His widow Ida and their two children Joshua, six, and Evelyn, three, live in Germany and were unable to attend the ceremony.
Michael's name has been added to the war memorial in the West Devon church.