Yellow ribbon for Suffolk soldier

HE'S a long way from his Hadleigh home – but Russ Hewitt certainly hasn't been forgotten at his mother's home.Proud mum Marion Hewitt has tied a yellow ribbon in the apple tree at her Norfolk home as she prays it will help protect her 33-year-old Corporal son who is serving in the Gulf.

HE'S a long way from his Hadleigh home – but Russ Hewitt certainly hasn't been forgotten at his mother's home.

Proud mum Marion Hewitt has tied a yellow ribbon in the apple tree at her Norfolk home as she prays it will help protect her 33-year-old Corporal son who is serving in the Gulf.

She said: "Everyone around here's been asking: 'Why've you got a yellow ribbon round your tree?

"I did it when the last Gulf thing was on in 1991. It worked, it brought him back safely then."

And it's not the only good luck charm that she believes is keeping her son, who met up with The Evening Star's James Fraser in Iraq this week, safe under dessert skies.

The camouflage jacket he wears is the one she made him.

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"I call it his lucky jacket. I tell him, keep that on, keep your head down and think of your mum and nothing bad will happen to you."

Cpl Hewitt served in 4 Regiment, Army Air Corps, during the 1991 conflict.

As well as the Gulf, he has had tours in Ireland, Bosnia and Kosovo.

But just as he is a war veteran, so is his family, including wife Kate and 15-year-old son Ashley and 11-year-old daughter Amy.

Mrs Hewitt said: "It's tough for all of us. Ashley is more quiet, but if Amy could have crawled up his trouser leg to be near him before he went, she would have done. You sometimes hear her have a little cry and she asks for a hug because she misses daddy's cuddles."

This time around, the Wattisham based soldier volunteered to work as part of the media operations team, providing close protection for three journalists travelling with 3 Regiment, Army Air Corps.

Mrs Hewitt, who lives near Kings Lynn, is resigned to the fact her son is going to miss her 61st birthday on April 5.

She said: "He missed my 60th because he was in Bosnia. I sometimes wonder if he is trying to tell me something."

Trying to keep her worries at bay isn't helped by the round-the-clock news footage from the war.

She said: "There's too much. I try to keep myself sane by just watching the six o' clock news. I don't know where he is, I just know that he is travelling around. When I feel blue I just tell myself he will be coming home."

And there's one final good luck ritual that she does every night.

"When I go to bed I always say 'Good night darling, God bless you and keep all of you safe and bring you all home safely. Because it's not just Russ I want to come home safe, I want them all to."

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