Soldiers set for war duty

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FYLDE coast soldiers are preparing again for deployment to Afghanistan.

The 2nd Battalion of The Duke of Lancaster regiment (2 Lancs), based at Weeton barracks, is in training for potential deployment to the warzone, and are believed to be flying out in early March.

The Weeton barracks community is now pulling together to support one another ahead of the departure of the vast majority of soldiers from the base.

And Weeton Primary School headteacher Anthony Goth, based in the barracks, said: “There are mixed feelings around camp.

“There’ll be some soldiers looking forward to doing their job as they’ve been in training for the best part of six to nine months in preparation for deployment.

“There will be some understandable apprehension from some dads and families about 
children missing dads.”

Mr Goth said soldiers will be spending up to seven months in Afghanistan.

An Army spokesman added: “The soldiers of 2 Lancs, based in Weeton barracks, are currently engaged in training for possible or potential deployment to Afghanistan in the near future.”

The school is preparing to host a special ‘I love my Dad’ themed Valentine’s Day for pupils to spend special time with parents.

Mr Goth added: “We’re inviting all the dads along but it will be great for the parents who will miss Father’s Day.”

The school is also taking part in a national programme, Storybook Soldiers, inviting soldiers from 2 Lancs in to read stories to their children to be recorded onto a CD.

The programme then gives children a recording of their parent to be listened to when they are thousands of miles away on duty.

Mr Goth added: “We have lots of dads doing this at the moment, so children can still hear them reading to them.”

Staff at the school have attended specialist training in order to best support children in their care while their parents are away in the warzone.

Mr Goth added: “We’re trained to look out for children who might be aware of things on the news and emotionally vulnerable.”

And he said a series of community events would be held to keep spirits high while soldiers were away.

The headteacher added: “The families are very good at sticking together and we try as a school to stay as a hub families can come to for extra support or advice.

“Our philosophy is if the children are happy the wives are happy, then the soldiers can concentrate on their jobs.”

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