ARMY veteran Sam Smalldon was given a send off fit for a hero at his funeral at Taunton Deane Crematorium yesterday (Wednesday).

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Widower Sam, who was Sergeant at Mace to Taunton Mayor Cllr Fran Smith, died earlier this month on what was his 41st wedding anniversary. He was 61.

Sam, who lived in Taunton, where he had been educated at Castle Secondary Modern School, was a former Royal Engineer - or 'Sapper' - who had served in Northern Ireland and the Falklands.

His coffin was driven from his home through Taunton town centre for yesterday's ceremony.

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A guard of honour lined up along the driveway to the crematorium and the hearse was led by a piper.

He was a passionate supporter of veterans who had fallen on hard times and was delighted when homeless charity ARC opened Victoria House, a home for former troops living on the streets.

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He trained as a psychological first aider so he could spot the signs of 'vets' at risk of taking their own lives.

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He also managed the poppy appeal in Taunton.

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