Soldier's letter released as single
The last letter written by a guardsman killed in Afghanistan is to be released as a single by chart act The Soldiers, it has been announced.
Guardsman Neil Downes died on June 9 2007 while based in Helmand province.
The 20-year-old's words to an unnamed sweetheart have been adapted for the song Letters Home, also the title track of the second album by the group of serving soldiers, to be released next month.
It is common practice for serving soldiers to compose a last letter to loved ones, to be opened in the event of their death.
The family of Guardsman Downes, known to his friends as Tony, gave their blessing to production duo Nick Patrick and Jeff Chegwin to use his words.
The song includes the lyrics "I'm sorry to put you through all this, I'm sorry there was no last kiss" and "I'm up here in heaven, you're free to start again. My love will never end. I'm sorry to my family and friends."
On the album the words will be credited to Tony (Neil) Downes, and the group - Lance Corporal Ryan Idzi, Staff Sergeant Richie Maddocks and Sergeant Major Gary Chilton - have dedicated the title track to him.
It is thought to be the first time a last letter has been set to music for a commercial release.
Sheryl Downes, Neil's mother, said: "The song is the most amazing thing I have heard. It shows how much my son was a loving and caring person.
"I can just see him now, looking down on us all with his million-watt smile. He will be so proud."