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Married Stoke couple prepare for Afghanistan

Benham Cook and Sara Cook on their wedding day Photo: Benham Cook and Sara Cook

A married couple from Stoke-on-Trent are among a group of 25 Territorial Army soldiers preparing to deploy to Afghanistan.

Corporal Benham Cook and his wife Sara, a Lance Corporal, will join colleagues from 159 Supply Regiment in helping the effort to drive out insurgents in Helmand Province.

Benham, 26, and Sara, 23, met through the TA and got married on January 28th last year.

They will spend their first anniversary training for the upcoming mission, which will involve supplying ammunition and equipment to front line troops.

The couple getting married last January Credit: Benham and Sara Cook

Benham is in his eighth year with the TA, and served in Iraq in 2007.

Sarah, who graduated from Keele University in 2011, joined on the advice of her brother Nathan, also a Lance Corporal who served in Afghanistan.

Despite deploying together, it is likely they will be posted in different locations. But they won't know for certain until they arrive at Camp Bastion.

Helmand Province Credit: PA

Sara, a former pupil at Blurton High School and Stoke-on-Trent College, said: "I'm excited. This is what we train for and, as a soldier, I think it is something you have to experience.

"We are luckier than most in that we will be together during our training but if we are separated out there, it could be difficult, especially if one of us goes outside the wire.

"That said though, at least we will know what the other one is thinking and I imagine it will be easier than waiting at home."

"We are luckier than most in that we will be together during our training but if we are separated out there, it could be difficult, especially if one of us goes outside the wire."

– Sara Cook

Benham, who attended Eaton Bank Academy in Congleton, added: "I joined because I saw the red sign for the TA Centre while driving through the streets and wondered what it was all about.

"This is my second major deployment and I can't wait to be honest. This is what I joined the Army for."

"This is my second major deployment and I can't wait to be honest. This is what I joined the Army for."

– Benham Cook

Among the 25 territorial army soldiers will be people from across the Midlands, including Birmingham, West Bromwich, Grantham, Boston, Coventry and Leek .