WITH her brother due to serve his third tour of duty in Afghanistan, Stacey Sutherland knows all about the sacrifices our troops make on the front line.
Twenty-five-year-old Garreth, from Hylton Castle, was among servicemen with the 3 Rifles who endured six months of hell battling the Taliban. Thirty of their mates were killed and more than 100 wounded.
The loss of life was the biggest of any British fighting unit since the Second World War.
The lance corporal, who volunteered to hunt hidden improvised explosive devices during the traumatic tour in 2010, was one of a long list of soldiers who received medals for their bravery in Sangin, the worst battle zone in Helmand Province.
The dad-of-two was honoured with the Queen’s Commendation for Bravery for “unwavering courage and selfless commitment displayed continually over a six-month period”.
Now, as Garreth prepares to return to the war zone, bar worker Stacey, 27, has launched a charity drive to help members of the Armed Forces injured while serving their country.
“Our Armed Forces do an incredible job out there and we just wanted to do something to let them know that we appreciate it,” said the mum-of-two.
“My brother is on leave the week of the event, so he’ll be able to come along.”
Garreth married wife Danielle, from Monkwearmouth, in November.
Danielle and children – Isobel, seven, and Charlotte, 12 months – are now preparing to spend six months apart from Garreth.
She said: “This is his third tour, but he seems fairly relaxed about everything. He’ll miss his family, of course, but it’s his job and he’s always been really driven.
“It’s what he’s always wanted to do and he loves it.
“You worry a lot, but you do your best to get on with everything.”
The Help For Heroes charity event will take place at Hylton Castle Workingmen’s Club, in Cricklewood Road, on Tuesday, February 28, from 7pm. Tickets are £3.
For more information, call 0776 967 8044.