Funeral for MH17 air crash victim

Published: Monday 1st December 2014 by The News Editor

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Friends and family have attended the funeral of a student killed in the Malaysia Airlines MH17 crash over Ukraine.

More than 500 mourners packed into St John’s Church in Keynsham, Bristol, to remember Ben Pocock, 20.

Mr Pocock, from Keynsham, was a second-year international business degree student at Loughborough University.

He had been flying out to begin a professional placement and study abroad at the University of Western Australia in Perth as part of his third year.

All 298 people on board the flight, from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur, died when the jet was shot down over an area of Ukraine controlled by pro-Russia separatists.

Tributes to “popular” and “sociable” Mr Pocock were paid following the poignant hour-long service at the historic town centre church.

Graham Marsh, chairman of St Mary Redcliffe Cricket Club said Mr Pocock had been part of the club from a “very young age”.

“His father plays for the club, so does his uncle and great uncle, and his grandfather is president so he had a long association with it,” Mr Marsh said.

“Ben was a very sociable, likeable and talented young man who was so sadly taken from us at such a young age.

“I think that he would have progressed so well at university and so on. His death hit the players quite hard. It was difficult to take in at first because he was a close friend.

“You never think such a thing will happen to someone like that.”

Mr Pocock’s coffin was carried in and out of the church by his friends and family, accompanied by white floral tributes reading ‘Ben’ and ‘Friend’.

An order of service featured photographs of Mr Pocock as a child, teenager and young man.

He was shown beaming at the camera clutching a sporting trophy, playing cricket and tennis, in a swimming pool and striking a Usain Bolt pose.

Andrea Arlidge, headteacher of Wellsway School, which Mr Pocock attended, said the sportsman would be sorely missed.

“Ben was a delightful young man who was bright and talented at sport,” Mrs Arlidge said. “We have wonderful lasting memories of him.

“When it happened it was a terrible shock and our immediate thoughts were with the family. The family did have a celebration of Ben’s life earlier in the year and we were privileged to be there.”

Mr Pocock had been on track to secure a first-class degree and had won a bursary to help with his travel costs to Australia.

Speaking before the service, Mr Pocock’s parents said: “The last four months has been a desperate and sad time for us as a family but we are relieved to have been able to bring Ben home and accord him all the love and respect he deserves.”

The victims of the crash included 10 Britons, 43 Malaysians and 195 Dutch nationals.

Mr Pocock’s parents added: “Although we have had a very hard time as a family we are very conscious that there are still nine passengers from the flight that have not yet been identified. Our hearts are with their families and we hope they soon receive the news they are desperately waiting for.

“The forthcoming funeral is about Ben but we will also wish to remember all the other 297 victims of MH17, especially the 80 children and numerous young adults. They did not deserve to die in such brutal circumstances.”

A private family cremation took place after the funeral.

Published: Monday 1st December 2014 by The News Editor

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