A SOUTHAMPTON soldier living with a brain tumour has welcomed a "ray of sunshine" baby boy into his life.

Staff sergeant Steve Blake, 37, who has served in the British army for over 20 years, began trying for a baby with his wife Becky just over two years ago - when he was diagnosed with meningioma, which is the most common form of adult primary brain tumour.

But after undergoing intensive radiotherapy treatment and surgery, the couple feared that Steve could have been left infertile.

However, a few months after being diagnosed, they were "relieved" to discover that Becky was pregnant.

And earlier this month came an "extra special" moment for them, marking a year since Steve finished treatment as well as the arrival of their son Harry Oliver Thomas Blake on Sunday September 15.

Steve, who is now a video production manager for the British Army, said: “I was diagnosed in May 2017. I’d suffered from frequent headaches and blurry vision for some time.

"It was a huge shock, not least because my mum had also been diagnosed with a meningioma three years previously.

"Fortunately, she’s had the all-clear for years, and that gave me hope and strength going through treatment.

"The hardest part was telling my son Joseph, who was just 13.

“Becky and I were trying for a baby at the time and were worried the radiotherapy would affect my fertility. Whilst we were told that this would be extremely unlikely it was hard not to be fearful so we were especially delighted and relieved to learn a few months later that Becky was pregnant.

He added: “Going through such a terrifying experience which made me question the certainty of my future made the arrival of Harry extra special.

"He’s a handsome chap, weighing 8lb 8oz at birth, and Becky and I are already besotted with him.

"He’s a ray of sunshine in what has been a turbulent few years.”

“I recently had a follow-up scan which showed that the radiotherapy was effective and my tumour had shrunk by 0.9mm.

"It sounds like a tiny amount but my tumour is about the size of a cube of sugar, so it’s a positive result."

Steve is now working with the charity Brain Tumour Research to raise awareness of the disease and has helped to raise more than £2,600 for the charity by completing a number of fundraising events, including a 25km hike along Dorset’s Jurassic coastline in June 2019.

Michael Thelwall, head of community fundraising at Brain Tumour Research, said: “We are very grateful to Steve for sharing his story of hope and we congratulate him and Becky on the arrival of Harry.

"We hope that patients and families find comfort and inspiration through his words. Steve’s story reminds us that brain tumours are indiscriminate and can affect anyone at any age."