Euxton mum set for Afghanistan deployment

Chorley Citizen: MISSION: Sharon Stewart MISSION: Sharon Stewart

MAJOR Sharon Stewart is not your average mother-of-three.

By day she is a matron and acting general manager at a private hospital, but by night she is preparing to be dropped into the world’s most dangerous warzone.

Trained medic Sharon is one of the Lancshire-based ‘207 Field Hospital’ team of Territorial Army volunteers who are training towards a probable three-month deployment to the Helmand Province, Afghanistan, at Christmas 2010.

She will help run the British military hospital at Camp Bastion which cares for servicemen and women injured on the frontline.

Sharon, who works at Euxton Hall Hospital, Chorley, claims swapping hip replacements for blast victims will involve similar principles and pressure and said she was looking forward to the challenge.

She added: “It’s still about patient care and keeping people informed, just different clientele. Obviously Helmand is not like Euxton, but I feel safe with a highly trained organisation.

“Yes, it’s a dangerzone, but I’ve no fears for my own safety. I’m not on the frontline like the boys.”

Sharon, 41, spent three months with the TA in Iraq in 2004 and said she would draw on those experiences in tough conditions.

“I will be managing the journey of those admitted, whether that’s theatre or flying them back. My mission is to look after injured soldiers so they get the best care.

“It’s not for me to comment on the merits of the war.

“I’m more concerned that people on the streets know their soldiers are receiving excellent care if they are unfortunate enough to get injured.

“My three children are aged 14, 10 and three years old. They are very worried and ask me why I’m not like ‘normal mums’. I think they’re more concerned about not getting Christmas presents while I’m away!

“My husband, Guy, is very proud and fully supportive.”

Sharon, who joined the TA in 1991, and her team have been undergoing intense fitness training and practice scenarios at a specialist facility in York.

It recreates the sounds of Afghanistan with sirens wailing and actors playing injured soldiers.

“We have all the departments you would expect to find in a normal hospital: an A&E department, theatre, pathology, X-ray, physio, intensive treatment and the wards.

“For me, this is about doing something worthwhile for your country. Not everyone has the opportunity to be called upon to do something for their country and to support our soldiers out on operations.”

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