A SOLDIER from St Leonards has died in a tragic motorcycle accident as he rode home to his family from his barracks.
Terry Stevenson, 35, of Battle Road, who served with the Royal Engineers based in Maidstone was on the way back to his Battle Road home when he collided with a Ford Fiesta in Cranbrook Road, Hawkhurst.
The corporal, who has a two-year-old daughter called Pippa, was in the Army for 13 years and had served in Iraq, Afghanistan and Kenya.
Corporal Stevenson died on February 10 at Tunbridge Wells Hospital at 7.15pm following the accident around 5.30pm that evening.
This week his wife Gemma paid tribute to him.
She said: “We as a family are completely devastated at the sudden and tragic loss. Terry was a dedicated and professional soldier of whom we were so proud, and who was the kind of man that others looked up to. The support of his mates at this sad and difficult time has been much valued. Terry will be missed every day but will be in our thoughts always.
“Terry was a genuinely brilliant man and loving father, who always put Pippa and me first.
“Pippa knows what has happened and her understanding is that Terry has gone up on a rainbow among the stars.
“In the park the other day she broke down saying she wanted her daddy.”
Corporal Stevenson grew up in Stoke-on-Trent in Staffordshire and moved to Hastings in 2011.
He was a communications specialist within the Royal Engineers and taught other troops at the Gibraltar Barracks in Hook, Hampshire from 2007 to 2009. It was there he met his future wife, as she was also a corporal with the same regiment.
The couple married at the High Beech Hotel (now the Sussex Edwardian) in St Leonards on New Year’s Eve 2009.
Mrs Stevenson, who owns Life in Plaster jewellery shop in George Street, Old Town, said: “Terry loved his time in the Army but wanted to be with his family more.
“He felt he was missing out on time with Pippa by commuting to Maidstone every day. Terry was planning to leave the Army and run a chauffeuring business.”
Corporal Stevenson belonged to the Armed Forces Bikers (AFB) charity, which helps former serving members of the armed forces in charitable need as a result of injury or other harmful experience suffered during their service. Charity members will be riding in a funeral procession today (Friday) from Bannatyne Spa Hotel in Battle Road to Hastings Crematorium on The Ridge where Corporal Stevenson’s funeral takes place from 11.45am.