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The solicitors are asking because they have to, it is not a question of your solicitor being a trainee but due to money laundering regulations.
Buying a property using cash is a very good way of turning "bad" money into "good" money.
Your friend simply needs to explain the source of the funds, savings or whatever is the case.
You can wait and see if they ask or accept the explanation but a completion statement, if your friend has retained one, should be sufficient in any event.