Tributes have been paid to a soldier who was found dead in a park in St Helens.
The family of Wesley McDonnell, 35, have described how he was "loved beyond belief" after he was found in a children's play area in St Helens just four weeks ago.
McDonnall, a longstanding sergeant, served for 20 years in the British Army, going on tours to Northern Ireland, Iraq and Afghanistan.
He took his own life while struggling with post traumatic stress disorder, reports Liverpool Echo.
His funeral set to take place later today and his niece Lauren McDonnell, who thought of her uncle more like a dad, paid tribute to him.
She said: "On Sunday, January 26, our family, our friend, our soldier was found at peace and out of pain.
"To say his family and friends are proud is an understatement,
"Wez, you will never know just how much you made us all so proud.
"It wasn’t just family and friends either, you made our town of St Helens proud.
"Nobody could replace you or fill the emptiness in our hearts.
"But we are trying to understand your choice and, although it’s hard, we know you are free and in a beautiful place now.
"Wez, you are loved beyond belief and you will be hugely missed by so many of us."
The funeral will take place at Greenacres Ceremonial Hall in Rainford with a wake later at The Windle pub.
The British Army also paid tribute to the recruit who signed up at the age of 17.
Mr McDonnell began his military career with the 1st Battalion, The Queen’s Lancashire Regiment, before time with The Duke of Lancaster’s Regiment.
He completed an infantryman course at Catterick in 2001 and was then deployed as a rifleman to Northern Ireland.
The St Helens man was deployed to Iraq in 2006 as a section commander and then completed three separate tours to Afghanistan between 2007 and 2015.
A spokesperson said: "Sergeant McDonnell will be remembered as a proud, professional soldier who was loyal, committed to service and put the need of others before his own.
"Kind and generous, his wisdom and company will be missed by many.
"He will be fondly remembered by his regimental family."
The soldier also served in Cyprus, Kenya, Canada, Germany and the Falkland Islands.
Shortly after his death, a poignant online fundraising message described his mental health struggles, stemming from his time in the Army, and movingly declared: "Stand easy, warrior, your duty is done."
Mr McDonnell was tragically found in a children's play area at Queen's Park in St Helens.
Emergency services were called to Queens Park Recreation Centre on Boundary Road last month of reports of concern for the safety of the man.
Police confirmed that the man was pronounced dead at the scene by paramedics.
His relatives have asked those attending his funeral, rather than sending flowers, to instead donate money to two mental health charities, which the soldier supported. The GoFundMe they set up can be found here.