OVER a third of North-East military workers say they miss out on milestone family moments due to being separated for extensive periods of time.

SSAFA, The Armed Forces Charity, surveyed the forces community in the North-East to discover the level of sacrifice made by soldiers, other military workers and their families.

The charity found 35 per cent of military families have been separated for ten months or longer due to the demands of their career, which include travelling to remote places of the UK for training, being deployed abroad or being on tour of duty in conflict zones.

These military workers said they often miss out on milestone moments in their children’s lives such as first steps, first words and births.

Many of them have also been separated for significant family events such as weddings, birthdays, anniversaries and funerals.

Justine Baynes, Director at SSAFA, the Armed Forces charity, said: “It’s easy to forget that serving in our Armed Forces means more than defending the Nation – there is also a human price that every member of the military pays.

“Being away from home and your loved ones for any period can be difficult - but imagine doing it for months at a time with limited communication.”

Around 43 per cent of the families said that, with family time being so precious, when they do spend time together there is a lot of pressure for each moment to be perfect.

In addition to the extra time apart, the survey found another 35 per cent said they have had to delay major milestones, such as getting married, buying a house, or starting a family, due to a long deployment.

SSAFA said they have been working to take the pressure of these families by offering aid, from help with the school run to financial support.

Ms Baynes added: “Whilst it is accepted to be a part of the job at hand, it’s important that we remember that missing birthdays, school plays and those special moments that create memories can take a toll.

“SSAFA understands the many challenges faced by military families - that’s why we have been supporting the Armed Forces family for over 130 years.”

More information about the charity can help can be found at ssafa.org.uk