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How the Army saved Kirsty Hamer from a wasted life

Sharon Harris with a picture of her son and daughter Lee and Kirsty Hamer
Sharon Harris with a picture of her son and daughter Lee and Kirsty Hamer

by Thomas Morris

Descending into a world of drink and drugs, a 21-year-old Kingsnorth resident turned her life around and is about to begin a second tour of duty in Afghanistan.

Kirsty Hamer will be joined by her brother Lee Harris-Hamer, 18, when they both begin serving in the war-torn country in March.

For former Christ Church School pupil Kirsty it is a radical change. The self-confessed wild child was hanging around with the wrong crowd and her life descending into a spiral of drink and drugs.

But when her mum Sharon took her to Impact, a disciplinary course in Ashford for those interested in the uniformed services, her life turned around.

The mother-of-four said: "If Kirsty hadn't done that course she was heading down the road of drugs. It turned my children around. Kirsty was very wild but she's worked hard and done it all herself.

Audio: Sharon Harris talks about the war in Afghanistan

"It got to a stage where I'd just had enough and I said we've got to do something about it. She was hanging out with crack heads and I had to physically drag her to the Impact course. It was my last hope. Since that first day she has never looked back. It turned both my kids around and I think it shows all children what they can do with their lives."

The two are now training abroad - Kirsty with the Royal Logistics Corp and Lee in the 4th Royal Artillery. Kirsty has previously served in Afghanistan for six months driving Ross Kemp for his television show and escorting Prince Andrew on a royal visit. Joining in February 2007, Kirsty has also appeared in the Help for Heroes single.

Lee, who joined in October 2008, hopes to become a dog handler within the armed services while Kirsty hopes to join the paratroopers.

But for Austin Road resident Sharon the next few months will be a difficult time.

The administrator added: "You can never get over them going away. It's hard to explain; you just hope you never get that knock on the door. Every time you hear someone has died you just cry. You just sit there waiting for it to happen to your own children and you just don't know."

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