MORE than 600 family and friends of a “highly capable, professional and experienced” soldier attended his funeral.
Mourners, many of them dressed in bright colours, paid their respects to Private Shaun Cole in a service at Colinton Parish Church in his home city of Edinburgh.
The 22-year-old, who served with 1st Battalion the Royal Regiment of Scotland, was killed in Miami, Florida, last month in what police in the US are treating as a possible hit and run.
Members of the regiment formed a guard of honour as Private Cole’s coffin, draped with a Union flag and with his regimental hat and banner on top, was carried into the church.
About half the mourners wore black while many were dressed in pink blazers, orange dresses and white trousers.
His family wore sprigs of thistle and consoled each other outside the church.
When the service was over, the family stood outside to receive condolences before departing for a private burial service which saw an eight-gun salute fired over the grave.
His family had asked that the media did not attend the service and no details of any music or addresses were revealed.
His commanding officer, Major Nick Colquhoun, said after the service: “Private Shaun Cole was a highly capable, professional and experienced soldier. He had served a little over three years with the Royal Scots Borderers, 1st Battalion the Royal Regiment of Scotland.
“During that time he proved himself under modern combat operations in Afghanistan and was most recently deployed in support of the humanitarian effort in Sierra Leone, combating the Ebola virus disease.
“Private Cole was an immensely popular and much loved character in Bravo company and within the Royal Scots Borderers. He will be greatly missed and today our thoughts are very much with his family, his loved ones and his friends.”
The circumstances surrounding his death are being investigated but detectives believe he may have been run down by a driver who then sped away.
The 22-year-old was found at 7am on 29 March suffering from serious head injuries, after attending a music festival.
He had told friends he was going to the toilet but when he failed to return after 20 minutes, they went to look for him.
They went back to the motel where they were staying to see if he was there, but carried on searching when they realised he had not returned.
They spotted a heavy police presence nearby, and then saw their friend on the ground. Witnesses said they had seen him running down the road before collapsing.
Private Cole was a Hearts fan and a minute’s applause was held before the team’s match with Rangers this month.
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