School govenor heads to Afghanistan

A SCHOOL governor has been given a send off by pupils as he prepares to leave for an army tour of Afghanistan.

A SCHOOL governor has been given a send off by pupils as he prepares to leave for an army tour of Afghanistan.

Alasdair Ross, who is also the ward councillor for Rushmere, spoke to youngsters at Sidegate Primary School ahead of his deployment next week.

The former sergeant major was re-called after seven years in retirement to bring his skills in intelligence and reconnaissance to the frontline. He has been preparing for duty in Northern Ireland.

Mr Ross will be tasked with ensuring the national elections go smoothly in August and continuing the effort to wean farmers off growing poppies for drugs.

Mr Ross, of Lonsdale Road, said: “I am nervous, but excited as well. I just want to get there now. It's a pregnant pause at the moment.”

The father-of-two, who serves with the 2nd Battalion, The Rifles, will be sent to a forward operating base in Sangin - an unstable town in Helmand province.

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The town was seized from the Taliban in an offensive involving The Royal Anglian Regiment, but insurgents want it back.

On his visit to Sidegate Primary School, the 46-year-old was introduced to the pupils at their Star of the Week assembly, where the kids are praised for their achievements.

Mr Ross explained to the children why democracy was important in Afghanistan and said he looked forward to being a governor again when he returns in December.

Headteacher Andrew Waterman said: “We wish you the best of luck and you go with our blessings.”

You can keep a track of Mr Ross's tour of Afghanistan by following his blog at www.alasdairross.blogspot.com