A SOLDIER from Colchester is his mother’s pride after he recognised in the New Year’s Honours list.

Dean Jackson-Smith, 41, has been awarded the Meritorious Service Medal, an honour given for meritorious service by those military personnel who are of irreproachable character with at least 20 years of service and who already hold the long service and good conduct medals.

Dean was inspired to join the Army by his former football coach, Tom Henderson.

Dean’s mother Sharon Jackson-Smith, 66, of Lexden, knew her son would do well in the Army.

She said: “My husband, John, and I both felt it was a huge opportunity that would suit him well.

“We are delighted with how well he’s done, I’d recommend the Army to any young lad who is unsure of their future.”

Sharon added: “He joined as a private to be a chef, but is a world away from cooking now. He signed up in Colchester, but trained in Pirbright.”

Dean is a Warrant Officer Class One serving with the Royal Logistics Corps and is based at Catterick Garrison in North Yorkshire.

He has completed two tours of duty in Iraq and one in Afghanistan.

His first tour was in Kosovo when he was just 17 years old.

Dean met his wife, Lyndsey, in the Army, and when they were expecting their first child Louis, Lyndsey left the Army and the family moved up north to Yorkshire.

Dean will leave the Army later this year after completing 24 years of service.