IT was a very merry Christmas for one county soldier when his girlfriend said yes to his wedding proposal on Christmas Day.

Steve Savage, of Malvern, who serves in the RAF Regiment, popped the question to his girlfriend Jenny Black and now the happy couple, who are proud parents to 21-month-old daughter Mia, have the exciting task of planning their big day together.

But many of the decisions may have to be made while the future Mr and Mrs Savage are thousands of miles apart as the senior aircraftsman is preparing to embark on his second tour of duty.

The 32-year-old will be deployed for active service soon and will spend about six months away from his family.

He said he felt fortunate to be able to spend Christmas at home and his thoughts were with his friends and colleagues out on operations.

“There’s a lot of time to think about everyone back home (when on active service), but it’s probably easier for you than those you leave behind. “Communication is difficult and that is hard for both sides. It’s nice to receive post from home, but it makes it harder in a lot of ways.

“I’ve got friends who were out in Afghanistan over Christmas. It’s fantastically special to be able to spend this time with my family. It’s hard to put it into words.

“I was thinking of my mates and colleagues out on operations at this time of year, and drinking a toast to them. Also, there are lots of small parcels sent out by churches, communities, WI, and just kind members of the public.

“They may not be much, but are greatly appreciated, not just at Christmas, but all year round.

“It’s nice to know that there are people out there who are thinking about us, all year round.”

Mr Savage said being in the military meant it was difficult to plan life more than a few hours ahead, but was looking forward to what the future holds for him and his family.