Green grass and being able to nip out to the shops are just two things a RAF airman serving in Afghanistan misses about home in Northumberland.
Sergeant Paul Sparrow, 40, is serving a four-month deployment as the mechanical transport officer in charge of a shift of eight airmen and more than 200 vehicles as part of 904 Expeditionary Air Wing at Kandahar.
Paul joined the RAF in 1993 as a mechanical transport driver and has served on operations in Afghanistan, Iraq, the Falklands Islands and Italy in support of the Libya conflict.
He said: “So far it has been an enjoyable tour. You will always miss things from home. Simple things like seeing the grass instead of an endless white colour of dusty sand, being able to pop to the shops and having more than one room to live in. Oh, and I should of course say the family.
“My thoughts are varied, I cannot help but think of the troops out on the ground and the day-to-day life they have to put up with. For us here on base we have meals prepared for us, good accommodation and some creature comforts. All in all things aren’t too bad.”
Paul, who is based at RAF Wittering in Norfolk, regularly volunteers for his local Coastguard team when home in Alnwick at weekends and a First Response ambulance team in Stamford during the week. He is married to Julie and they have two children, Adam and Amy.