A TIDWORTH-based soldier who was diagnosed with a brain tumour while serving on the frontline is now battling to help find a cure for the disease.

Sergeant Steve Blake was working in RAF Holton as an army photographer, supplying images to the world’s media, when he was struck down with symptoms including severe headaches.

Sgt Blake was initially misdiagnosed with a sinus infection and was prescribed a variety of antibiotics and decongestants before the tumour was eventually found 18 months later during an MRI scan.

His tumour was a meningioma, which was the same type which his mother Joan Blake had been diagnosed with three years earlier, but now after surgery and radiotherapy, both Sgt Blake and his mum are doing well.

Now, the 36-year-old army press officer based at Tidworth will take part in one of several Walks of Hope organised by the Brain Tumour Research charity.

Sgt Blake said: “I joined the army at 17 and, having served in Afghanistan for a year, have seen the horrors of the front line. People often expect that kind of job to be the toughest, but actually for me it’s the repatriation ceremonies. I have photographed more coffins than I ever thought I would see in my life. Sometimes it was guys I knew or were even friends with. It’s the harsh reality of my profession but it doesn’t get any easier.

“Having been off sick for a few months, I’m really glad to be back working. The army eased me back in gently and it was a great feeling to be back full-time and in the uniform that I had worn for nearly 20 years. Sitting around for months had an effect on my physical fitness and I’m working hard to get back to good health.

“I’m extremely motivated to raise awareness and funds for research into brain tumours, after both me and my mum went through the devastating process of being diagnosed.

"I hope to help other families going through a similar situation and the Walk of Hope will be a fantastic way to fundraise for this vital cause.”

Steve, dad to Joseph, 15, will be taking part in Portsmouth’s inaugural Walk of Hope with his wife Rebecca who lives with Steve in Southampton, who he proposed to at a garden party at Buckingham Palace, outside the Queen’s tent.

To register for the Portsmouth Walk of Hope or to find out more, go to braintumourresearch.org/fundraise.