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Soldier missed sister's wedding - so sent life-size cutout instead
11:00am Sunday 28th October 2012 in News
A SOLDIER who appeared at his sister’s wedding last month as a cardboard cut-out has arrived home to congratulate her in person.
LCpl Ben Smith, 24, from Wimborne, returned to Tidworth in Wiltshire after a seven-month tour in Afghanistan with the Kings Royal Hussars on Friday.
It meant that the soldier, who was on his first tour in the war-torn country, missed sister Michelle’s wedding.
Just a couple of hours after arriving back in the UK, Ben told the Daily Echo: “While I was out there my sister got married.
“I was hoping to come back for it, but wasn’t able to.
“It was my family’s idea to get a life-size cut out of me, which went to the wedding and reception.
“It was nice – I was a bit gutted as I wanted to be there, but it was nice to be part of it in a way and I also made a video message, which everybody watched.”
Ben will now go through a ‘normalisation’ process, as well as advising soldiers on their way out to Afghanistan, before returning to Wimborne for some well-deserved rest and relaxation time.
He added: “It’s great to be back and see the family.
“It was good, a good experience, but it was quite hot out there – not what I’m used to in the UK.
“I started out going out on patrols with the Afghan Police and then halfway through the tour I had to switch to be a vehicle commander.
“You have the threat of IEDs and insurgents, but you get used to the risk and you keep your head switched on – if you do, you will be fine.”
Ben was greeted at Tidworth by mum Marcia, dad Bob and sisters Michelle and Nicola.
“There was a lot of excitement, probably for them more than myself – you get used to working out there – but I was glad to see them,” he added.