THE mother of a soldier killed in Afghanistan says she is still supportive of army efforts there.
Britain’s command of military operations in Helmand province was formally handed over to a US general yesterday as the UK looks to complete its withdrawal from Afghanistan by the end of the year.
Shirley Price, who lives in Holywell, received news in 2010 that her son, Alan Cochran, 23, had been fatally wounded by an enemy sniper during an ambush in Helmand while serving with the 1st Battalion of the Mercian Regiment (Cheshire).
The lance corporal had been patrolling near a Taliban stronghold in Nahr-e Saraj when the patrol came under fire, but despite her loss, Mrs Price backs the army’s efforts and believes the UK presence in the country has made a positive difference.
“A lot of people have been lost out there but they have been making a difference,” Mrs Price told the Leader.
“Alan told me the same thing the last time I spoke to him and I do support their efforts.
“Alan enjoyed his job. He is our hero and I am so proud of him and I still speak to his picture.
“Unfortunately, Alan won’t come back. I still wait for him but I know it won’t happen.
“He is still my baby and I do find it hard so I avoid the news and have done since he joined the army.”
Mrs Price added: “The day you wave goodbye is worse than the day you are told they are not coming back.
“I can understand some people wondering what they have died for, but they are changing things for the better.”
The army is reported to have reduced its presence in Helmand by about 50 per cent from the 10,000 armed personnel stationed in the province at its peak.
Mrs Price revealed the day of the British withdrawal also marked the 23rd birthday of her youngest son Shaun.
Alan, who also served in Iraq, was the eldest of three brothers with Mark, now aged 25.