Hero soldier and sweetheart renew vows

SUFFOLK couple Lloyd and Shiralee Howlett have reaffirmed their love for one another - a special moment for the pair after he survived a blast from a terrorist landmine.

SUFFOLK couple Lloyd and Shiralee Howlett have reaffirmed their love for one another - a special moment for the pair after he survived a blast from a terrorist landmine.

They decided to renew their wedding vows partly in celebration of Mr Howlett, a corporal with the Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers, recovering from terrible shrapnel injuries caused when the bomb exploded just five metres from him.

He was peppered with shrapnel and stones, catching most of the explosion in his face, metal left embedded in his cheek and jaw.

On Saturday Mr Howlett, 35, and Mrs Howlett, 33, known by everyone as Sam and works at the Wilkinsons store in Ipswich, renewed their wedding vows in a special ceremony at St Augustine's Church, Ipswich.


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The pair, who have two children, Courtney, 13, and Lewis, nine, were supported by family and friends who gathered on a sunny summer afternoon to watch them commit themselves to each other once again.

Canon Lionel Simpkins, who married them 12 years ago - their anniversary, another day of celebration, was yesterday - when he was quite new at the church, conducted the service.

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Mrs Howlett had a new wedding dress especially for the occasion and Mr Howlett wore his officer's uniform.

“Because of what has happened over the past year we really felt we wanted to renew our wedding vows and this would be a great time to do it, the day before our anniversary,” said Mr Howlett.

Mr Howlett, who is attached to the 23 Engineers Regiment, was in Afghanistan when a Warrior tank hit a landmine and was part of the recovery unit.

He was putting in place a winch to recover the armoured vehicle when another rolled over a second mine, causing an explosion just five to eight metres away from him and friend and colleague Cpl Pete Ollander.

The couple live in married quarters at Rock Barracks at Woodbridge.

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CORPORAL Lloyd Howlett cheated death when a landmine detonated metres from him.

He said: “We were peppered with hundreds of small stones and caught shrapnel in the face, legs and body.

“I got hit in the cheek and straight through my cheek into my mouth. The medics were brilliant and we were out of there on a Chinook in 20 minutes.

“They removed most of the shrapnel from my face and I had five stitches but they missed a piece which was still stuck in my jaw.

“When I went back they said they had seen it on the x-ray but thought it was a wisdom tooth, but I had my wisdom teeth out five years ago!”

Cpl Howlett has served three times in Afghanistan and may go out again.

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