MUM Sonia Butler has welcomed home her twin daughters who have been serving as military medics in Afghanistan.
Nurses and doctors from the Territorial Army were reunited with their families after spending three months treating injured soldiers in the war-zone.
The 46 TA medics arrived back at their North East base and 40-year-old twins Claire and Stephanie Butler ran into the arms of their parents Sonia and Carl.
The nurses, from Newbottle, said it was “fantastic” to be home.
“This is the second time we have been away,” said Claire. “We were in Iraq in 2005.
“It is fantastic to have this kind of support coming home.
“It was very busy and challenging out there, but we were both nursing together the whole time.”
The Stubbs family, from Sunderland, were also on hand to welcome back Major Andrea Stubbs, who usually works as a senior nurse for City Hospitals Sunderland.
Andrea, who was greeted by her mother and father, Lynn and Jim, said: “It is lovely to receive such a welcome and be piped in.
“It was a challenge in Afghanistan, but a great experience too.”
The medics have been using skills from their civilian roles to treat hundreds of soldiers and civilians at Camp Bastion.
Colonel Sharon McDowell, commanding officer of the unit, said she was proud of the men and women returning from service, as they arrived back at the base at Fenham Barracks, in Newcastle.
“They have done the North East proud,” she said.
“We have had some highs and lows and seen some of the most terribly-injured soldiers we could see and sadly, some deaths.
“We have provided first-class care to the casualties who have come to the ward in Camp Bastion.
“I am very proud at the standard of care they have given injured soldiers.”
Lieutenant Colonel Christian Townend, the officer Commanding 201 (Northern) Field Hospital Rear Ops Group, added: “They have run the hospital in Camp Bastion to the highest standard, supporting our allied troops during a very difficult time.”