Meet Sunderland’s real heroes – Afghanistan troops get match-day medals

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SERVICEMEN and women were given a heroes welcome at a celebration to mark their homecoming from a tour of Afghanistan.

Wearside’s members of the 4th Regiment Royal Artillery, the city’s adopted regiment, were being recognised for their efforts during the past six months in the lead up to Saturday’s match between Sunderland and Everton.

Sunderland Football Club owner Ellis Short after presenting campaign medals to members of 4th Regiment Royal Artillery, before Saturdays match with Everton.

Sunderland Football Club owner Ellis Short after presenting campaign medals to members of 4th Regiment Royal Artillery, before Saturdays match with Everton.

Thirty men from the regiment were presented with medals from SAFC owner Ellis Short at the Stadium of Light.

It follows the regiment’s return home to a heroes welcome at Alanbrooke Barracks in North Yorkshire last week.

The 117 members of 4th Regiment Royal Artillery, known as The North East Gunners because the majority of them hail from the region, had been based in Helmand under the command of 4th Mechanized Brigade on Operation Herrick 17 since October.

A spokesman for soldiers said it was an honour to be invited to the stadium for the presentation.

Chairman Mr Short said ahead of the event: “The club is hugely proud of our armed forces, and we are both delighted and honoured to welcome these brave soldiers to the Stadium of Light.”