THE funeral of humanitarian aid worker James Henderson took place at Truro Cathedral today.

Known to friends and family as Jim, Mr Henderson, from Penryn, was one of three security contractors employed by Solace Global Risk to escort a food convoy provided by World Central Kitchen (WCK) in war-torn Gaza. All three were killed, along with four WCK staff members.

The 33-year-old was a former Royal Marine, who had done tours in Yemen and Afghanistan, and the force was out in large number to pay tribute to one of its fallen. As the hearse arrived at High Cross, a line of green-bereted veterans saluted the coffin, which was draped with a Union flag.

Veteran Sam Leighton had come down from London to take part. “We are one big family – we never forget,” he said. “It’s an honour and a privilege.”

To the strains of Elgar’s Nimrod, Jim’s coffin was carried into the cathedral, where Canon Alan Bashforth addressed a packed congregation in memory of “James Neil Henderson: fiancé, son, brother, friend, Cornishman”.

He paid tribute to “a life cut tragically short”, adding: “From the security of our armchairs we watch the news and shake our heads and say what a shame it all is. We might even reach for the remote because we can’t cope with what we’re seeing.

“Others see that suffering and know they might be able to do something about it, and are called to put themselves in harm’s way to help others, often at a dreadful cost. In Jim, we are remembering one of those people today.”

Solace Global managing director Emily Roberts was close to tears as she recited a poem entitled “Remember Me,” ahead of the Navy hymn Eternal Father, Strong to Save. The Bible reading, by Jim’s uncle Rob Searle, was Romans 12:9-17, which includes the verse: “Live in harmony with one another.”

Jim’s cousin, Helen Moran, reflected upon Jim’s younger years, describing him as “an easy-going child” whose love of sport – including rugby and boxing - showed a balance of ambition and kindness that made him “much-loved among team mates, competitors and friends”.

Surrounded by Jim’s friends, Harry James-Mills recalled fun times spent by the Penryn River with “Hendo” and a gang of pals. “He was a guardian to us all. He was bigger and stronger than us, and would take advantage of that, making us do all sorts of silly things with a smile and a devious laugh,” he said, with fondness.

“Jim radiated power and leadership. He didn’t need to use many words – you could just feel it. A simple nod from Jim was enough to know it was going to be OK.

“He was also a supreme athlete – at 6ft 1in and over 100kg, he was invincible … It felt really good to be around him, and you could not help but be changed by him.

“Hendo’s final gift is his legacy. To see how he motivates each one of us to be better is to see his reflection staring back at us.”

Jim’s love of children was touched upon many times, and his fiancée Jacqui was at the forefront of everyone’s thoughts. “Despite her reservations about James’ job, she realised the profound connection they shared and the richness of life with James would outweigh the challenges of his frequent absences,” said Ms Moran.

The Rt Rev Hugh Nelson, Bishop of St Germans and Bishop to the Armed Forces, read the Royal Marine Prayer and the Lord’s Prayer, followed by the hymn I Vow To Thee My Country.

A bugler played the Last Post, followed by a minute’s silence and the Reveille. The Cape Cornwall Singers performed Cornwall My Home and That Beautiful Land.