Stacey Longworth, Mr Lingard’s ex-wife and mother to his sons Jackson, 17, and Keane, 13, told The Standard: “He deserves for the world to know he was a hero.
“I’m extremely proud of him. Simon was a true representation of what a soldier should be and a hero.”
His grieving son Jackson, from Blackburn, wrote on Facebook: “My heart is broken to announce that his group was attacked and Dad has passed away in battle, a true hero and beloved to so many of us.
“I can’t put into words how much he is missed, but I’m comforted to know he was doing what he loved and surrounded by friends. I love you Dad, I’m so proud of you.”
On a crowdfunding page, looking to raise £6,000 for his funeral, his son added: “My Dad was an inspiration to all who knew him, a real life hero who died fighting for what he believed in.
“He was loved and adored by so many a true representation of what a soldier should be.
“The Ukrainian Military have offered to bring him home to England but we need help to show him the respect and adoration he deserves by giving him The greatest well deserved send off.”
He is believed to be the third British national to die so far in the Russian invasion of Ukraine.
One of his former unit posted on Facebook: “Lingard was an awesome soldier with a great, sometimes questionable sense of humour.
“He is a guy I’m proud to have served alongside him in 2 Para before he moved on to serve in Afghanistan on multiple tours.
“After the Russian invasion of Ukraine he did not hesitate to go and fight on their behalf and I’m sure his expertise, experience and mentoring capabilities have helped the Ukrainian army push the Russians back to their current point, I’m also sure what he will have taught those fighting with him will help them win this war.”
A Foreign and Commonwealth Office spokesman said: “We are supporting the family of a British national who has lost his life in Ukraine and we are in touch with the local authorities in connection with his death. Our thoughts are with their family at this difficult time.”
Click here to visit Mr Lingard’s fundraiser.