Soldiers and medics in Afghanistan are receiving spiritual guidance from a Sheffield man.
Martin Sheldon, aged 46, from Manor, has just started a three month tour as a chaplain to British Forces in Camp Bastion, Afghanistan.
Chaplain Sheldon, who is normally based at RAF Marham in Norfolk, is now Chaplain to Bastion Hospital.
Martin is on his first tour working as chaplain to 2 Med Group, which provides primary care as well as the full hospital service.
He said: “I pray for the people who are here. I provide pastoral care and support to the doctors and nurses.
“I am deeply privileged to have this role. My place is all over the hospital. I am there in the Emergency Department as well as all the other sections of the hospital.
“I pray three times a day and provide communion. I also hold special services for various events and commemorations. With these services I guess we are giving people’s feelings some kind of corporate sense. However, most of my time I am communicating directly with people in different situations.
“I support the people at the front end in the ambulances or in the Medical Emergency Response Team helicopters.
“I am able to listen to the pressures and worries of all in the chain of command. However it does involve some long hours working through to 10.30pm every night as a matter of course.
“The role is exactly as I thought it would be. It is an immense privilege and gratifying experience to help people on a spiritual level.
“It is good to see people with pressure lifted off them just by giving them time and a listening ear.
“Here I have more time and space to engage in pastoral care and share the good news. Also in the military the doors are open to you. You can be a critical friend to those in a position of power. There is also the fascinating opportunity to work alongside those of other denominations.”