THE mother and sister of a soldier who is responsible for deactivating explosives in Afghanistan braved the cold to sleep out and raise money for charity.
Joe Smith, 20, is currently serving in the war-torn country with 33 Engineer Regiment, part of Royal Engineers Bomb Disposal.
The former Horbury High School pupil has only been there for four weeks and will miss his first Christmas with his family.
His worried mother Gina Giles of Snapethorpe Gate decided to swap her cosy bed for a sleeping bag in her neighbour’s garden to raise money for the regiment’s injured soldiers fund.
She was joined by her daughter, and Joe’s sister, Nicolle Smith, 18, and the pair raised £400.
Holiday Inn worker Mrs Giles, 41, said: “It has been devastating since he left, but we all try hard not to think too much about the job he does.
“He will be there over Christmas and we all miss him.
“We wanted to do something to raise money for the charity which supports soldiers who get injured as a result of their job.
“Sleeping out took our minds off it. It was very cold and we woke up regularly, but it was worth it.”
The pair slept out on Sunday night and chose their neighbour’s garden to prevent the temptation of returning inside.
The injured soldiers fund was launched in 2009 to make a difference to the lives of soldiers from the barracks who have been injured while on active service.
Sapper David Watson from Mr Smith’s regiment was killed in Afghanistan in December 2009 and has inspired many troops to complete fundraising events in his honour.
The regiment is responsible for dealing with improvised explosive devices (IED) left at road sides by enemy forces.