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26 November 2013, 07:42
An appeal for people to come to the funeral of Teesside war veteran Frederick Leach has attracted 29,000 likes on Facebook.
Frederick, formally of Simpson Close, South Bank, died on November 6th, aged 94, in Briarwood Care Home, Eston.
The former Green Howard's care and finances were being managed by Redcar & Cleveland Borough Council at the time of his death.
Sheelagh Clarke, the council's cabinet member for health and social wellbeing, said:
"We appealed for relatives and anyone who knew Frederick to come forward.
We had an incredible and extremely humbling response and it looks like Frederick is going to get the send-off that he deserves.
His family, who had lost touch with him, have given us their blessing to make the arrangements and we understand some relatives will be attending.
Members of the Armed Forces community, past and present, will be in attendance too and will play a significant role in the service.
Thanks to the heart-warming response from the public and the military we have been able to build up a picture of Frederick."
The service will be led by a Baptist minister who was known to Frederick whose medals will be on display.
Standard bearers will lead the cortege and Frederick's pallbearers are also former Green Howards.
A regimental flag will be draped over his coffin and Frederick will be wearing his Green Howards blazer.
Frederick was the last surviving Green Howard from a famously brave battle in Otta Norway, in 1940, where his battalion came under fire from about 200 Stuka dive bombers.
The Green Howards held their line despite being heavily outgunned and prevented the Germans from advancing.
In 2005 Frederick attended Buckingham Palace where he was honoured by King Harald of Norway on the 60th anniversary of country's liberation.
The funeral of Frederick Leach will take place at 3.30pm in St Bede's Chapel, Teesside Crematorium, Acklam Road, Middlesbrough.