Funeral for killed Afghanistan hostage Linda Norgrove

  • Published

Family and friends attending the island funeral of British aid worker Linda Norgrove have heard how she made the "best use of her life".

Penelope Hamilton, who conducted a humanist service in the Uig community centre, Lewis, said it was hard to accept Miss Norgrove's death.

She added: "We're in shock, numb with so many things left undone and unsaid."

Miss Norgrove, 36, died during a US-led rescue mission to free her from her captors in Afghanistan.

At the time of her death, the Scot was working for American-based aid organisation Development Alternatives Inc (DAI).

She was kidnapped in the Dewagal valley in the Kunar province on 26 September while looking into the development of agricultural projects in the east of Afghanistan.

Family spokeswoman Jane Cumming said Miss Norgrove would be buried at the cemetery in Ardroil, not far from her home village of Mangersta.

During the funeral, Ms Hamilton added: "Linda's family will enjoy talking about her, even if it's sometimes upsetting.

"She'll always be in their thoughts in any case and she'll always remain an important part of their lives.

"Linda's humanity, hopes and ideals have long been abroad in the world and we commit these to our minds, our wills and our hearts. Her qualities and example will always remain with us.

"Linda's life contributed far more than a little to the world. In addition, for the future, the determination of her family and community - here in Lewis, in Afghanistan, and worldwide - will ensure that she will be among the influences that pass from age to age in fruitfulness and blessing."

Image caption,
Linda Norgrove as a young woman enjoying activities overseas

The funeral began with music from the various countries and continents where Ms Norgrove studied and worked, including Mexico, Africa, Peru and Afghanistan.

It was followed by an American traditional gospel song, translated into and sung in Gaelic.

A colleague from aid group DAI was due to speak in tribute to Miss Norgrove, who was described as "caring and compassionate".

The Norgroves asked for the funeral to be family and friends only and that no flowers be sent.

Instead, they asked for donations to The Linda Norgrove Foundation, which has been set up to continue the work she was doing in Afghanistan.

It will fund women and family-orientated schemes in the war-ravaged country.

Rescue attempt

The foundation will provide specific funding for projects such as scholarships for Afghan women to attend universities and to set up children's orphanages and specific girls' schools.

Miss Norgrove's remains were flown back to RAF Lyneham in Wiltshire.

An inquest into her death was opened and adjourned by Wiltshire coroner David Ridley last week.

It was originally thought Miss Norgrove had died at the hands of her captors during a US-led rescue attempt but it has since emerged a US grenade may have been to blame.

A joint US/UK military inquiry into her death is currently under way.

It is being led by Brig Rob Nitsch, the head of Joint Force Support, UK Forces Afghanistan, and senior US investigating officer Maj Gen Joseph Votel.

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