Soldier's final letter home inspires song

A teenage soldier whose final letter to his parents became a symbol of sacrifice when it was published in The Independent is to be remembered in a charity single.

Rifleman Cyrus Thatcher was 19 when he was killed by an explosion in Helmand province, Afghanistan, in June 2009. His final letters home caused a national sensation after his parents agreed to make them public. The irreverent and funny words of a teenager took on a poignant maturity in a final letter to his family to be read if he died, which began: "Hello it's me, this is gonna be hard for you to read."

Four of his friends from Reading later formed a band called The Kixx, recently supporting both Olly Murs and JLS. They will be releasing the single, "Breathless", in his memory this Sunday, with all profits going to the Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen and Families Association.

Last night, Rifleman Thatcher's mother Helena Tym said: "It is such a lovely tribute from one friend to another. There are so many people who have been affected by, lost people, in this war and the ripples are huge, not just parents and brothers but also friends."