A GUNNER from Westhoughton has been awarded an Afghanistan campaign medal after completing his first tour of the country.

Sam Stringer, with 3rd Regiment Royal Horse Artillery, was deployed to Camp Bastion in December last year, where he spent three months working as a signaller.

Any soldier who completes more than 30 days in the country receives an Afghanistan medal, which is engraved with the soldier’s name.

The 20-year-old first joined the army aged 16 before being accepted as a gunner aged 19.

Mr Stringer, who is based in Bergen-Belsen in Germany, was presented with the medal last month.

He said: “I am really pleased to have received the medal. Going out to Afghanistan for my first tour was quite nerve-wracking.

“Experience-wise, it was good to get out there, although in some ways it wasn’t quite what I anticipated.

"It was a lot calmer than I expected it to be, but that is due to the fact we are coming to the end of the Afghanistan era and pulling out of the area.

“I worked as a signaller during my time there and stayed at Camp Bastion. I left in March and came back to my base in Germany.

“Next year I will be moving to Newcastle, but I hope to come back home to Westhoughton over the summer to see my family.”

His mum, Tracy Fisher, added: “We are all really proud of Sam for being awarded the medal. I am just gutted that I couldn’t be there to see him receive it.”