A NAVAL reservist heroine and paramedic who saved the life of a young Highlander soldier while on patrol in Afghanistan has celebrated the Christening of her new baby.

Michelle Ping, along with her partner Chris Nicholson, had the ceremony for their daughter, Ellena Rae Nicholson-Ping, at the Military Chaplaincy Centre in Amport House over the weekend.

The Andover couple were ‘delighted’ that Craig Paterson, the young soldier she treated for his critical injuries when he was shot by a sniper in 2011, joined as a guest.

He had travelled from Scotland, along with his new wife, Louise, who were determined to share this special family event after Michelle missed Craig’s wedding, when she gave birth much earlier than expected.

The 41-year-old paramedic said: “It was a truly fabulous day and both Chris and I were honoured to have so many people attend, some travelling as far away as San Francisco to be here.

“Having my Royal Naval Reserve (RNR) family there also summed up the occasion and I am so pleased that Ellena was so well-behaved.

“She received so many cards, gifts and well-wishes that it makes me proud to know that she is loved by everyone just as much as we love her.

“Ellena was a long time coming and having her baptised by the chaplain of the fleet at Amport House, using a ship’s bell as the font, made for a great start into the navy family.”

Mr Paterson, who has since left the army following his severe head injury, made a good recovery and is now enjoying a new career in Scotland working for Booths. 

He said: “We were really sorry that Michelle missed our wedding, she was to be our guest of honour, without her care and actions on that day, I doubt I would have made it.”

Friends, family and colleagues joined in the day, from both the Royal Navy, the Fleet Air Arm’s Naval Reserve Air Branch and Ambulance Service that Michelle has served with over the years.

The Chaplain of the Fleet, Ian Wheatley, who served alongside Michelle in Helmand Province, said: “Ellena’s Christening Service was really special because Michelle, her mum, served with us as part of the medical team in Afghanistan. 

“To be able to baptise her baby, all these years later was very special.”

Now a commissioned Sub/Lieutenant in the RNR, Michelle was presented with Queen’s Volunteer Reserve Service medal following her Mention-in-Dispatches during Operation HERRICK and has received numerous accolades, while also being presented twice with Sun Military awards in her role as a lifesaver.

She will return to continue training the Ambulance Service’s National Ambulance Resilience Unit after her maternity leave.

The couple will adjust their busy working lives around baby Ellena Rae while Michelle finds time to continue her naval career as an amphibious warfare officer, training to support Royal Navy operations at sea and in her RNR unit, HMS King Alfred.