A MUM is still in shock after receiving the best birthday present she could have wished for this year.

Diane Lloyd was feeling low when she had her message from her soldier daughter that she would not be home for her mum’s birthday.

So imagine her surprise when daughter Lucy suddenly turned up on her doorstep in Aston on Clun “I had not been expecting Lucy and in fact I had been told that she would not be able to get back to see me,”

said Diane, aged 53, who will also be well-known to Tenbury readers of the Advertiser, having lived in Rochford for many years.

Diane had been told that she would be unable even to contact her daughter because of work that she was doing as a Lance Corporal serving a tour of duty in Afghanistan.

“Lucy is a very brave girl and was on her first tour of duty in Afghanistan and not expected back until after my birthday,” added Diane.

“I think of her all of the time and try not to listen to the news.”

But Lucy, a corporal in 101 Engineer Regiment, had always intended to try to get home for her mum’s birthday and had been given permission to take an early flight back to the UK.

“I had told my mum not to expect me and not to try to contact me as a cover so that she would not become suspicious.”

Having got back to the UK Lucy got in touch with her to find out when her mum was at home.

She was taken to the house and when Diane came to the door she was told that there was a present for her at which point Lucy emerged from the shadows.

“It was just wonderful to see her and at first I just could not believe it,” said Diane.

“I just gave her a big hug because it was much better than winning the lottery.”

Mum and daughter have been enjoying being together visiting local haunts while Lucy has also taken the chance to catch up with friends.

The young soldier is based in Essex but tries to back as much as she can.

She has served in the army for two years and when she is not serving as a soldier has a passion for motorsport and was a special guest at the Ludlow Motor Club she presented the annual awards.