AS surprises go, they don’t come much better.

Schoolgirl Lucy Molyneux was speaking on stage at a school assembly about why her dad – who serves in the Royal Navy – is her hero.

But dad Keiron had been in the Middle East on Operation Kippion in logistics for the Royal Navy and she had not seen him for six months.

To the five-year-old’s immense surprise, at the very moment she was singing his praises before pupils and staff at Thatto Heath Community Primary School, he marched into the room.

Keiron, wearing his uniform, arrived with a certificate and medal for Lucy, which stated she is a ‘mini hero’. Lucy was stunned to see her dad, who ran around to the stage and scooped her up into a big hug.

Speaking to the Star, Keiron said he wanted to surprise “daddy’s little girl” by making a special memory for her.

He said: “It’s been like a military operation coming into the school today, it is a big deal because I think I’m one of the only military dads.

“But I wanted to make it a lasting memory for Lucy after her going six months without me; that’s what’s important.

“We are inseparable, usually she is daddy’s little girl.

“It’s been a long time with her asking everyday: ‘When are you home?’ but today is the day and she didn’t even know.”

Pupils from different age groups had been speaking in the assembly about their heroes and their own bravery.

Lucy, who is in reception class, described how her hero dad “looks after everyone”, before adding that “it had been a bit sad” not seeing him.

It is the longest deployment he had been on since she was eight months old.

Her mum Kirsty Molyneux, 26, who cried as the pair were reunited, said: “It’s been really hard trying to keep it all a secret because she is really good at picking things up, so I’ve had to talk in code for months.

“It’s really good to have him home, but I’m also glad that they have been reunited.”

Keiron, 30, who arrived home at 2am that morning and stayed at his parents’ house to ensure he did not spoil the surprise, emailed the school months ago to arrange the special homecoming.

Head teacher Catherine Ireland and office manager Lisa Coates planned the event – but none of the other staff or pupils knew.

They said: “Seeing them together was well worth it. She’s been counting down constantly for her dad coming home.

“It was great to be part of the surprise.”