A nine-day-old baby boy snuggles next to his soldier daddy’s helmet in one of hundreds of heart-warming photos entered for a military calendar.
Tiny Blake Valentine-Pottinger’s dad, David Pottinger was in Afghanistan when his wife, Carlie, discovered she was pregnant.
The 23-year-old private, currently posted in Bulford, Wilts., managed to get home for the birth – only to be deployed on exercise weeks later.
The touching photo was one of over 300 entered in a national competition to show the special bond between our Armed Forces and their families.
The best dozen have been chosen for a 2016 fund-raising calendar, with tiny Blake featuring on the page for March, alongside his daddy’s campaign medal with bar.
The top-rated photo, which will be used for April, shows two toddlers who share a bond, as their dads both serve in 2nd Battalion the Parachute Regiment.
It captures the moment two-year-olds Lily Townley-Taylor and Phoenix Prue, who is dressed in his dad’s uniform, share a kiss on the lips as the sit in front of an army plane.
Second place went to a photo of proud Colour Sergeant Chris Osborne cuddling his daughters Lana, two and Amy, four, at a colour consecration ceremony.
The little girls, who live with their mum, Ellie, and daddy in Dhekelia, Cyprus, feature on the July page of the calendar.
A cute photo of eight-day-old Julian Alexander Williams, wrapped up in 33-year-old dad Lance Corporal Stuart Williams’s guard’s uniform, is being used for the December page.
And a moving image showing Lance Corporal Michael Emmings, 24, being reunited with family after a six and a half month tour of Afghanistan is featured on the February page.
Mum Charlotte Emmings, 27, said she was “absolutely delighted” that the photo of she and her soldier husband hugging their nine-month-old baby, was chosen.
She said: “Being picked is very special to us as it captures a moment of great happiness in our lives.”
The calendar has been created by My Daddy is a Soldier Adventures – a charity which supports service families – which is soon to be renamed Little Troopers.
Founder Louise Fetigan said: “Growing up in an army family can be so hard, but also so rewarding.
“We received over 300 pictures for our calendar competition, from families based across the world.
“It is humbling to see the pride they have for their Soldier and the special bond that they share even though they can be apart for many months of a year.”
As well as the twelve photos picked for the months of the year, another will appear on the front cover and 25 more shortlisted entries will feature on the back cover.
The £9.99 calendar goes on sale in the middle of October and is available from www.mydaddyisasoldieradventures.org.
Proceeds go to the charity, which works to support the children, dubbed ‘little troopers’, and families of British soldiers.