It was a far cry from the tough conditions of Afghanistan when Army dads joined their children for an afternoon of kite flying fun at a barracks-based school.
Heroic soldiers from the North West’s Infantry, The 2nd Battalion Duke of Lancaster’s Regiment (2 LANCS), enjoyed helping to construct and fly kites with their children at Weeton Primary School.
The soldiers, who are based at Weeton, only returned from Afghanistan after a nine month tour in mid-October as Britain continues its pull-out of the country by 2014.
Troops spoke of their joy at returning home to see their families and helping to build the kites with their children, an item which had been outlawed by the Taliban when they ruled the Middle-Eastern country.
Sgt Keith Atkinson, 36, was at the school with his son James, eight.
He said: “It’s really good to be here. The school is very good to the parents, allowing them to come down and get involved.
“It’s nice to come in and do activities with my son. For many of us, we do not know how long we’ll be away for when we are called up.
“It’s especially hard for the lads with younger families. You really treasure moments like this.”
Cpl Mataiasi Covu, 29, helped build two kites for his children, Jasmine, 10 and Joe, four.
He added: “I came home last week. I’ve missed them so much, it’s great to be back.
“When you go away, you miss the little things, like how much they have grown since you’ve been away.
“It’s great to pop into the school like this and see what they’ve been doing.”
The idea of schoolchildren building kites with parents came about thanks to headteacher Anthony Goth.
Mr Goth said: “The reason for the activity was two-fold.
“One, when the Taliban ruled in Afghanistan, between 1996 and 2001, it banned kite flying, calling it ‘un-Islamic’.
“You have to appreciate this was a popular tradition which boys and their fathers enjoyed, which they could no longer do.
“Secondly, before the soldiers left earlier this year, I read a book in assembly about kite-flying to all the children, highlighting its importance in Afghanistan.
“This kite flying day was a chance for the families to enjoy a wonderful activity together.
“Everyone has had a great day.”