A GOVERNMENT minister handed out medals on a visit to Andover.

Anna Soubry MP, Minister for Defence Personnel, Veterans and Welfare, visited Andover charity DMWS to present Service Medals to six Defence Medical Welfare Service (DMWS) welfare officers in recognition of their recent deployment to Afghanistan.

DMWS, which supports wounded, injured and sick service personnel and their families at home and overseas, is the only civilian welfare organisation to deploy to areas of conflict.

The minister described DMWS staff as “unsung heroes”.

She said: “I would like to personally thank each and every one of you for everything you do to support our troops and their families.”

She highlighted the fact that although DMWS is a critical and valuable service for the armed forces, it unfortunately often goes unnoticed by the general public and the wider military community.

Among the guests was Deputy Mayor of Test Valley Cllr Jan Lovell, who as a former Army wife and mother was interested to know more about the military charity, which relocated its HQ to Andover from London 18 months ago.

Nicky Murdoch, chief executive of DMWS, said: “We are delighted the minister could visit today to present Service Medals to our staff.

“We are immensely proud of the job they do and it is wonderful to see this recognised.”