Final salute to Keighley former Royal Marine Albert Joyner, who died aged 102

The coffin is carried into the church

The coffin is carried into the church

First published in Keighley
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A final emotional farewell has been paid to the man who was the country’s oldest surviving former Royal Marine.

The village church where he worshipped was packed this afternoon for the funeral service of Albert Joyner.

Appropriately, amongst the medals on the ensign-draped coffin was a wreath of poppies.

Mr Joyner, who died earlier this month aged 102, had raised thousands of pounds collecting in Keighley for the Royal British Legion Poppy Appeal.

His Legion colleagues, former and serving marines and young cadets were all present at Riddlesden United Reformed Church to give their comrade a fitting send-off.

A guard of honour was formed outside the church.

They were joined at the service by mourners including the Lord Mayor of Bradford, Keighley councillor Khadim Hussain, the town mayor Coun Sally Walker and Deputy Lord Lieutenant Richard Jackson.

Charlie Hobson, of the Royal Marines Association, told the congregation that Mr Joyner was a “very special man”.

“He joined the marines in 1930/31 and loved his time in the corps and everything about what it represented,” he said.

“Albert – who was around during that awful war – was steeped in the marines ethos and selflessly did so much for other people day in day out, week in week out and year in year out.

“Remembrance of his fellow comrades who had fallen really meant a lot to him and he was fiercely proud of what and his colleagues stood up for.

“He had courage and determination and was a great example.”

Mr Joyner was last year awarded life membership of the association.

Mr Jackson also paid tribute, on behalf of the Legion and the Queen.

“He was a highly distinguished gentleman who was defined by the commando spirit – doing things that the rest of us would deem impossible,” he said.

“He radiated character before he had even spoken.

“And the revenues he generated for the Legion in his determination to be the top poppy collector were legendary – he raised £18,000 in his last eight years for the Poppy Appeal.

“But as with so many exceptional people, the exceptional thing about Albert was his humility.

“He experienced incredible things at extremes of the human spectrum, but he had absolutely no ego or sense of personal regard.”

The Rev Fred Rich, who conducted the service, said Albert loved dancing and had met his future wife – Rose – at a dance. They married in 1938.

The couple moved to Keighley in 1988 to be near their daughter, Pam.

Rose died in 2000 and Mr Joyner – who was an apprentice tailor before joining the marines – spent several years at the Tonson Court sheltered housing scheme, in Keighley.

Latterly he was a resident at Herncliffe Nursing Home in the town.

Donations given at the service will be split between the Royal British Legion, Royal Marines Association and Cancer Research UK.

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