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Published: 16:26 BST, 9 March 2017 | Updated: 17:00 BST, 9 March 2017
One of Britain's most decorated soldiers who counted royals and A-list celebrities as friends has died just weeks after the birth of his first child.
Lieutenant Colonel Paul Holder joined the army aged 16 and served around the world in Afghanistan, Ireland, Germany, Hong Kong, and most recently in Africa, during a glittering 33-year career.
Lieutenant Colonel Paul Holder, one of Britain's most decorated soldiers, has died just ten weeks after witnessing the birth of his son Frank (pictured together, with his wife Annemiek)
He worked on aid projects in Africa, where became close friends with stars including James Bond actor Daniel Craig and Sean Penn, who went on to be his son's godfather
He also worked tirelessly in aid programmes overseas, helping to build schools and hospitals in the wake of the 2010 Haiti earthquake, where he became friends with stars including James Bond actor Daniel Craig and Sean Penn, who went on to be his son's godfather.
He attended various events at Buckingham Palace, meeting the Queen on numerous occasions, and helped organise her 90th birthday and golden jubilee celebrations.
Recently he was awarded the ceremonial Master Carmen title, which meant he often attended events alongside HRH Princess Anne.
Lieutenant Colonel Holder, who was born in Stonehouse, Gloucestershire, but lived in London, was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in October and passed away on Sunday surrounded by friends and family.
It comes after he married partner Annemiek in Holland in October, witnessed the birth of his first son Frank ten weeks ago and celebrated his 50th birthday in January.
Speaking from her home in Stonehouse, today, his mother Valerie Anne Farley described Paul as 'the love of my life'.
PRESTIGIOUS CAREER AND ACCOLADES
- Paul Holder joined the army aged 16 and rose to the rank of Lieutenant Colonel
- He served in Afghanistan, Ireland, Germany, Hong Kong, and most recently in Africa
- Last year Paul was involved in the celebrations for the Queen's 90th birthday
- Recently he was awarded the ceremonial Master Carmen title, which meant he often attended events alongside HRH Princess Anne
- He will be given full military honours at his funeral, which will be held in London, opposite Buckingham Palace, on Wednesday, March 15
She said: 'We're heartbroken by his death, he will be greatly missed.
'Paul was very funny, loving and caring man who loved his family very much. He lived life to the full and saw so much of the world.
'He worshipped Annemiek and their baby, so I know how much it meant to him to be able to see his son enter the world.
'He had the Christening not too long ago and you could see how much it meant to Paul. It so sad Frank will not get to grow up with his father by his side.
'Paul was very talented and had all kind of hobbies and passions.
'He was also an incredibly generous person and was always involved in some kind of charity event or another.
'He was recently awarded the ceremonial Master Carmen title, which meant he often attended events alongside HRH Princess Anne.
'He once spent Christmas in Haiti with Sean Penn, where they worked together building a school and a hospital for people whose communities had been destroyed.
'The world is very different when you are 13 or 14, it feels huge and you feel untouchable - but many of our young girls feel vulnerable.
'He was so well loved so I know there are a lot of people in Stroud who will miss him. We were all so proud of him and all he had achieved.'
He was awarded the ceremonial Master Carmen title, which meant he attended events with Princess Anne (pictured with his mother Valerie Farley, 69, and sister Joanna Turl, 49)
Paul joined the cadets at 11, igniting a passion that would endure the rest of his life. After leaving school aged 16 he then joined the Royal Corps of Transport.
Over the next three decades years he progressed through the officer ranks from Second Lieutenant to First Lieutenant, Major, Captain and on to Lieutenant Colonel.
He was also commanding officer of the Scottish Transport Regiment and travelled across the country attending military service events and armed forces days.
We're heartbroken by his death, he will be greatly missed
Last year, Paul was involved in the celebrations for the Queen's 90th birthday.
In his role as Master Carman, he donned a Superman costume to abseil down one of London's most iconic buildings to support the annual Lord Mayor's Appeal in 2015.
Paul will be given full military honours at his funeral, which will be held in London, opposite Buckingham Palace, at 1pm on Wednesday, March 15.
Hundreds are expected to attend, including leading military personal in the British Armed Forces.
Before his passing, Paul was able to choose the hymns and songs played at the service.
His family invited friends and colleagues to attend.
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