He The fiancée of a former British soldier who died in a car crash in Ukraine after he traveled to the country to help fight Russia says she had made a wedding ring the day she learned of his death.
Louise Lathbury’s partner, Julian Thorn, 36, of Hexham, Northumberland, was killed in the collision in Ukraine earlier this month after he traveled to the war-torn country in February last year to help train the Kiev forces in the midst of Vladimir Putin’s invasion.
Lathbury said she had been designing her rings at a local atelier for her upcoming wedding earlier that day when she was informed of her death on May 21.
His heartbroken fiancée is now facing a major bill to repatriate his body to the UK. Lathbury has set up a GoFundMe page to raise £15,000 to recover Julian’s body from the war-torn nation.
Lathbury, originally from Berkshire, said Thorn’s mother and grandfather were also desperate to bring him back to the UK, saying it would mean “everything to bring him back whole”.
Louise Lathbury’s (left) partner, Julian Thorn (right), 36, of Hexham, Northumberland, died ‘instantly’ in a car crash in the Ukraine earlier this month. She was informed of his death on May 21.
Julian Thorn, 36, (pictured in Ukraine) from Hexham, Northumberland, was killed in the collision in Ukraine and his heartbroken fiancee now faces a £10,000 bill to repatriate his body to the UK.
LLouise Lathbury said her death has “left a void in my heart that can never be filled” as she launched a fundraising campaign to recover her body.
She said she died “instantly” in the accident, which was confirmed by a colleague in Ukraine and the Foreign Ministry.
The British sniper, also known as Jay, had done humanitarian work helping refugees on the Ukrainian-Polish border, as well as training locals on military equipment sent from the UK.
The 36-year-old, who served in the Rifles and toured Afghanistan before meeting Lathbury, had traveled to the Ukraine because it was “something he was passionate about and wanted to share the skills he had.”
Speaking about what it would mean to bring him home to Northumberland, Ms Lathbury said: “It would mean everything because we need to bring him back whole.”
‘He has to come back and he has to be himself and then we can do what’s right for him when we get him home.
“I want him to have a good send-off and be where he loved – he loved Hadrian’s Wall and he loved Northumberland and I just want him to come back and be in the place he loved so much.”
Mrs Lathbury was informed of her partner’s death on May 21, the day she had made a wedding ring.
Julian Thorn, 36, traveled to the Ukraine to help fight Russian troops. He died in a car accident in the country earlier this month.
The British sniper, known to friends and family as Jay, traveled to Ukraine in February last year to help train Ukrainian forces amid Vladimir Putin’s invasion.
She said: ‘To be honest, I didn’t think it was real and I asked: ‘Are you sure it’s him? Are you sure it’s him?
“But the other thing is, we were talking about the wedding and everything, and I had made her wedding ring that Sunday, and then you think, did I tempt fate by doing it?
‘You do, you think silly things like that when it happens.
“He was devastated, it was a surprise and he was going to give it to him when he got back.”
Lathbury, who had been with Thorn for four years, said her death devastated her and “left a hole in my heart”.
She said any money left over from the GoFundMe campaign would be donated to another family trying to repatriate the body of a loved one and to an animal charity.
Lathbury added: “The thing about Jay is I don’t think it was just the Ukraine situation – if he could help, he wanted to help no matter what.”
“He loved animals, we have rescue animals everywhere because he just wanted to help.”
Thorn’s partner, Louise Lathbury, said his death “left a hole in my heart that can never be filled” as they launched a fundraising campaign to recover his body. In the photo: Julian Thorn
Louise has now set up a GoFundMe page as she and Thorn’s family aim to raise £15,000 to bring the ex-soldier’s body home.
Thorn, who previously ran a pub in the town of Allendale, spent eight years in the army before traveling to the Ukraine to help troops there in February last year.
Louise told ChronicleLive: ‘He was tough on the outside and soft on the inside. He had that tough exterior and he was tough, but he was a big softie on the inside. He just wanted to do something good.
‘I had been going back and forth [to Ukraine] since the war started,” said Louise. ‘He was doing a bit of everything over there. He was training a lot of soldiers, because he is ex-military and he was supporting different units.
‘He felt that he had abilities that could be used there. It was something she felt she had to do.
Louise and Thorn, who met in a Reading pub in 2019, said they had kept in touch while he was in Ukraine via a secure messaging app.
“We text each other every day and call as often as we can,” she said. I worried about him all the time.
A Foreign Office spokesman said: “We are providing support to the family of a British man following his death in Ukraine, and we are in contact with local authorities.”
I am Rakesh Sharma, I associated with Elite News as an Editor, since 2021. I take care of all the news operations like content, budget, hiring and policy making.