A British soldier killed in a suicide blast while on patrol in Afghanistan has been named as Warrant Officer Class 2 Ian Michael Fisher from the 3rd Battalion, The Mercian Regiment (Staffords).
The 42-year-old studied at Staffordshire University before joining the Territorial Army in Stoke-on-Trent and later the Mercian Regiment. He was killed yesterday in Helmand province on the final day of an operation to disrupt insurgent activity.
The 42-year-old physics and geology graduate, WO2 Ian Fisher was born in Barking in Essex, joined the Territorial Army in February 1993.
After completing his degree at Staffordshire University, and following three and a half years' service as a reservist Lance Corporal, he volunteered to go to Hong Kong in August 1996 as a Regular Private with B Company, 1st Battalion The Staffordshire Regiment (Prince of Wales's).
He completed four previous operational tours from 1999 - once to Northern Ireland, twice to Iraq and a previous tour of Afghanistan in 2011.
WO2 Ian Fisher leaves his wife, Emma, two sons, James, seven, and William, five, and his parents, Simon and Helen.
Paying tribute, Emma said: "Ian will always be the centre of my life, he will be remembered as a doting father, loving husband and a true professional soldier.
"He loved being a soldier, that's what he lived for. We are all so proud and always will be."
The MoD said WO2 Fisher's colleagues described him as "the epitome of an Infantry Sergeant Major, straight talking and obsessive in his pursuit of excellence and gaining the most from his subordinates while ensuring their wellbeing."
A pensioner has told how she decided to walk across the Midlands in support of local soldiers after becoming increasingly aware of the difficulties they face.
Stoke-on-Trent woman Enid Corker told ITV News Central she felt it was "very important" to show servicemen that ordinary members of the public supported the regiment.
She arrived in Nottingham today where she presented a memorial scroll containing the names of the Regiment's 28 soldiers who have been killed in action since 2007 to Nottinghamshire's Lord Lieutenant Sir John Peace.
A 71-year old woman from Stoke-on-Trent is walking 200 miles through four Midlands counties in support of the Mercian Regiment Benevolence Fund for injured servicemen.
Enid Corker began her epic walk in Cheshire last Saturday and has already walked through Staffordshire and Derbyshire in the company of serving soldiers from all four battalions of The Mercian Regiment.
She will be arriving in Nottingham today where she will be presenting a memorial scroll containing the names of the Regiment's 28 soldiers who have been killed in action since 2007 to Nottinghamshire's Lord Lieutenant Sir John Peace.
The Prince of Wales has officially presented the Mercian Regiment with their new colours, following the regiment's formation six years ago.
The regiment recruits many soldiers from the Midlands and today was important as all four batallions came together to welcome the new colours, which Prince Charles said represented their heritage and fighting spirit. Victoria Davies reports.