Hundreds pay tribute to British aid worker killed in Gaza

Around 700 people have gathered to pay their respects to a former British serviceman killed in an Israeli air strike in Gaza.

James “Jim” Henderson, 33, was among seven World Central Kitchen (WCK) workers who died when their convoy was hit outside the Deir al-Balah warehouse last month.

Mr Henderson, from Cornwall, formed part of WCK’s security detail and died alongside fellow British veterans John Chapman, 57, and James Kirby, 47.

Mourners gathered at Truro Cathedral to say goodbye to the Royal Marine turned humanitarian worker.

The 90-minute service was led by Rev Canon Alan Bashforth and included tributes from Mr Henderson’s family and friends.

Around 700 people filled Truro Cathedral to say goodbye to Jim Henderson (World Central Kitchen/WCK.org/PA)
Around 700 people filled Truro Cathedral to say goodbye to Jim Henderson (World Central Kitchen/WCK.org/PA)

Cousin Helen Moran spoke on behalf of Mr Henderson’s parents, Neil and Trish, fiancee Jacqui and older brothers Matt and Dan.

“Trisha, Neil, Jacqui and the family wish to thank everyone who has gathered here today,” she told the congregation.

“The family has been deeply moved by the outpouring of support during this difficult time.

“They are enormously thankful to the compassion and generosity shown by friends, neighbours, colleagues and the wider community.

“This support has been a source of comfort and a reminder of the impact Jim had upon so many people.

“A son, a fiance, a brother and a friend, leaving us at such a young age is always a tragedy.

“To lose someone of James’s extraordinary character and decency overshadows the pain.

“It is impossible not to think of what could have been, what more he could have achieved, who else could have benefitted from his presence in their lives, how will we go on without him?

“The weight of that can be overwhelming. There are no easy answers, we are left with questions and an unbearable sadness.

“But there are at least two powerful and comforting facts. He was with us, and we are so very proud of him, of everything he did and all he was.”

Childhood friend Harry James-Mills told of growing up with Mr Henderson in Penryn, his passion for rugby and shared stories of his time with the Royal Marines.

“There’ll never be enough words to describe Hendo, but those who had the pleasure of knowing him have said he was a force to be reckoned with, an absolute warrior, an incredible friend – diligent, big-hearted and utterly selfless,” Mr James-Mills said.

“It felt really good to be around him. There was a comforting reassurance about being in his presence. If you were a friend of Hendo’s, you knew it.

“Our friend has left us but his legacy lives on with us.

“Although we bid farewell to you let us take solace in knowing that you will never truly leave us for as long as we carry you in our hearts. You will always be by our sides.

“James Henderson – our friend, our brother, our hero – you will live on, and your legacy will forever shine bright.

“Rest in peace, dear friend, we will never forget you.”

The family of Mr Henderson pay their respects outside Truro Cathedral (Ben Birchall/PA)
The family of Mr Henderson outside Truro Cathedral (Ben Birchall/PA)

Emily Roberts, managing director of security company Solace Global, which employed Mr Henderson, read the poem Remember Me.

Mourners sang the hymns Eternal Father, Strong to Save, Jerusalem and I Vow to Thee, My Country.

Prayers included the Royal Marine Prayer and the Lord’s Prayer, and the Last Post was played.

Mr Henderson had a passion for rugby and was part of 40 Commando, which saw frontline service in Afghanistan during Operation Herrick 17.

The funeral of Mr Kirby was attended by hundreds of people in Bristol last week.

The Israel Defence Forces dismissed two officers and reprimanded three others over the incident, calling it a “serious mistake”.