A SOLIDER is at the heart of efforts to help aid reach the typhoon-torn islands in the Philippines.
Army aircraft technician Corporal Adam Hoggarth, 23, from Whitburn, is serving on HMS Illustrious and is part of a small team ensuring that helicopters dropping of vitally needed supplies in the region are fully maintained.
The former Whitburn Comprehensive School pupil, who last year served in Afghanistan, was in Dubai when he was seconded to his latest mission after Typhoon Haiyan struck with devastating force.
He had expected to celebrate Christmas at the home of his parents, Margaret and Ian Hoggarth, in Souter View, Whitburn - but will not now return until early in the new year.
Mrs Hoggarth, a former bank worker, said: “He rang us from Singapore to say they were loading the ship with supplies, and said he wouldn’t be back for Christmas.
“We expect him to be back in the middle of January and we’ll celebrate with him them.
“I thinks he’s happy that he’s making a difference as part of a small crew that is keeping the helicopters flying.
“I’ve seen on the news that they’ve reached the Philippines now.”
Mrs Hoggarth’s daughter, Lesley, and son-in-law Steve, both 37, also serve with the Royal Signals, her husband Ian, 65, was an army tank transporter before retiring.
She added: “It’s always worrying when they are serving abroad. It doesn’t get easier, but it’s something you come to accept.
“Adam’s sister has served in Iraq and his brother-in-law in Afghanistan. Lesley’s also due to go to Afghanistan next year.
“We’re very proud of Adam and the role he is playing in making sure the helicopters are kept in the air.”