THE funeral of a soldier who passed away aged 35 takes place today (Thursday).

Welsey McDonnell, passed away aged 35 on Sunday, January 26 with his body found at Queens Park.

Wes, who was platoon sergeant, served in the military for nearly 20 years.

This included in Cyprus, Germany, the Falkland Islands, Kenya, Canada, twice in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Wesley, from Boundary Road, featured in the Star in 2012 when he was of 22 specially selected soldiers from the Duke of Lancaster infantry unit’s three battalions, which recruit from across the north west, to take part in a trip to South Africa and received the freedom of the city of Ladysmith.

His funeral takes place at GreenAcre Woodland Burials in Rainford today (Thursday, February 27) at 1pm.

This will be followed by a wake at The Windle pub on Hard Lane.

READ MORE > Online fundraising page set up in memory of soldier Wes

A close friend said to the Star: "He was a strong man, he was fun and had a good character. He was very warm-hearted and would do anything for everyone.

"He was one in a million.

"Wesley was a family member, a friend, a soldier and he was loved by many people he had met throughout his army life.

"We will be doing Wesley proud by giving him a full military funeral and showing him just how much he was loved."

An online fundraising page has been set up for a PTSD charity and a mental health charity which Wes supported.