Fight for Our Boys! Forces' sweetheart Cheryl Cole dons army fatigues to train with British troops in Afghanistan


By Sarah Bull

She donned a variety of camouflage-style outfits when she was promoting her summer anthem Fight For This Love.

But yesterday Cheryl Cole wore the army colours for a different reason, as she became the new forces' sweetheart while visiting British troops in Afghanistan.

The 28-year-old star flew out to Camp Bastion in the Helmand province on Tuesday night on a visit to mark 10 years of British operations in the country.

Cheryl boarded a troop carrier plane at RAF Brize Norton in Oxfordshire for a 12-hour flight on Tuesday morning, having previously undergone hostile environment training to prepare her for the trip.

On the way to Afghanistan, Cheryl made herself useful on the flight, serving drinks and dinners of sausages and mash to her fellow passengers, who were flying out for a six-month tour.

Once in the Helmand Province, Cheryl was given her own army fatigues and took part in a mock gun fight, which she deemed 'terrifying'.

She added: 'I went into the room and heard an explosion.

'It was scary. I was terrified. I'm not ashamed to say I screamed and uttered a few expletives.'

Task Force Helmand chief, ­Lt Col Tim Purbrick, told the Daily Mirror: 'Cheryl was not afraid to get her shoes dirty.

'When everyone heard she was coming we did not know what to expect as she’s a huge star.
'But whatever ­preconceptions we had went out of the window as soon as we met her.

'Her smile is infectious, she was up for doing everything we suggested. She was like one of the lads.'

Forces sweetheart: Cheryl Cole flew out to Afghanistan on Tuesday to visit British troops in the country

Cheryl added: 'I always had admiration for what the guys do out here, but seeing them here at work is awe inspiring.

'I'm delighted to be here to recognise all the hard work they do. Every one of them is a hero in my book.'

One solider said of Cheryl's trip: 'She's a stunner and having her out here has lifted morale.

She's probably the biggest star to visit. Fair play to her, it's a dangerous place to come.'

The former Girls Aloud star agreed to fly to the war zone to film a tribute to the Armed Forces as part of the newspaper's Pride of Britain Awards, which are to be screened on ITV1 next month.

Camouflage fan: Cheryl must have been thrilled with her army fatigues, as she has regularly donned khaki clothes over the past few years

Cheryl follows in the footsteps of a number of celebrities and high-profile figures who have paid similar visits to the war-torn region.

Last May, footballer David Beckham made a surprise trip during which he paid tribute to the 'amazing' work of British troops and took part in a penalty challenge with 1st Battalion The Royal Gurkha Rifles.

Classical star Katherine Jenkins and singer and former soldier James Blunt have both performed for troops, while Prince William made a special trip in November to join servicemen at a remembrance service.