AMONG the soldiers preparing to deploy to Afghanistan is Captain Emma Wardall, 24, who is serving with 4th Regiment, Royal Artillery based at Topcliffe.

Capt Wardall joined the army three years ago after studying philosophy at Newcastle University. She follows in the footsteps of her late father, who also served in the Royal Artillery.

“The great thing for me about being in the Gunners is that a lot of the training is at Larkhill and I can slip home to see my family,”

said Capt Wardall, who has family in south Wiltshire.

She began pre-deployment training just over six months ago: “This is the final exercise before we deploy, I am going out in the second week in September. I am looking forward to it.

“Since I joined up the whole focus has been on the tour in Afghanistan, for me I feel that we have gone through so much training that I am fully prepared and am really, really ready to go now.”

Emma will act as the unit press officer during the tour, trying to send back a steady stream of stories for the regional press about the soldiers in her regiment and also hosting media who visit the regiment.