As far as they are concerned, there was nothing remotely remarkable about their trip in to town. They had heard the news. They knew what was coming. And earlier this week they did what they always try to do if they happen to be at home.

They made the ten-minute walk to the High Street and joined their friends and neighbours on the pavement to pay silent tribute to two more young lives cut tragically short, two more extended families for whom New Year can never be happy again.

It was colder than usual, but the couple wrapped up well. They knew they would be waiting on the kerb for an hour or two - not ideal when you're suffering from arthritis.

So they popped in and out of a bank to warm up. But there was no question of going home just because the temperature had plummeted.

Finally, at around 2.15pm, the bell at St Bartholomew's Church tolled the arrival of the hearses carrying Kent-born, Leeds-loving Rifleman Aidan Howell, 19, and Sapper David Watson, 23, from Whickham, Newcastle-upon-Tyne.

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